8 Tips to Sell Your Home for Top Dollar and Fast

Monday Jul 30th, 2018


Let's face it, this business of selling Real Estate in Mississauga can be challenging at times.  We are now in a changed market.  You can no longer simply list your home for sale and expect it will sell.  Whether you are in Erin Mills, Port Credit, Lorne Park or Lakeview there are some key fundamentals in achieving the top price in a reasonable timeframe.  Here are a few tips that can help you achieve the result you want, or at least the best result for the property you have.

  1. Don't overprice your property - you may think asking more, will get you more, but this is not usually the case.  A careful evaluation must be done on your property vs comparable recent sales as well as the current trends in the marketplace.  Are you listing as the price wave is increasing or is it trending downward slightly - consulting a Real Estate Professional who has their finger on the pulse is extremely important in determining this type of information.  Take your emotions out of the equation and put your 'Buyer hat' on.  Try to look at your home through the Buyer's eyes.  Make sure you are NOT listing your home well above it's real market value.  This often results in more days on market, fewer Buyer showings, and ultimately less money in your pocket.
  2. If you smoke - DON'T - it surprises me every time I walk into a home that has a strong odour of smoke that the Seller does not realize they are costing themselves money.  Smoking in a property that you wish to sell will drive potential home Buyers away and your price down.  You can help resolve the issue if you have been smoking in the house - consider changing carpets, removing curtains, have walls washed with TSP and then painted with high-hide paint primer/sealer. Remove or clean all items that can hold a smoke smell (furniture, bedding, clothes, blinds, etc).  Start smoking outside only and preferably not in the garage.  This can all cost money but it will also have a reasonably good return on investment.
  3. Spend your renovation/upgrade money wisely - in my 16 years of selling real estate across the GTA, it would be rare that a client differentiated between a $10,000 top of the line furnace and a $6,000 quality mid range furnace.  The same holds true for Air conditioners, water heaters, some roofing materials (will a $40,000 metal roof get you $40,000 more at sale time? - no).  The main point is, not all items carry the same return on investment as others.  Carefully consider the potential Buyer in the market you are in.  If you are in a $650,000 townhome, it would seem excessive to spend $9-10,000 on a 6 burner dual fuel Wolf range.  It is unlikely that a Buyer will appreciate the value and pay you exponentially more money than if you had a good quality $3,000 stove.  If you are in a luxury market - then high end appliances and finishes would potentially be a wiser investment.  
  4. Don't fall for the High List Price Advice - it's not unusual for a Seller to interview multiple agents prior to signing a Listing Agreement.  I have seen all too often a Seller falling for an overprice recommendation by an agent and listing their home with the expectation they will sell for the inflated price.  Wake up!  Do your comparable homework - if 2 neighbours with similar homes to yours just sold for $725,000 and $733,000, there is no point listing at $799,000.  This is a strategy employed by some Agents to secure the listing, only later to reduce the price when showings and offers are not happening.  9/10 times an extended amount of Days on Market = less money.  
  5. The Lure of Low Commission Broker or For Sale By owner Option - Real Estate commissions are a significant amount.  But they are necessary in the process of getting top dollar for your home. I could go into the costs involved in being a Professional Agent and why most good agents deserve every penny of their commission but the focus here is how YOU get the most money Selling your Home.  When a home is listed by a discount Broker or For Sale by Owner type Brokerage, this is contrary to how most agents make their living.  Some discount brokerages offer less than standard commissions (certain markets are different but 2.5% is still the common average to be paid to the Co-operating Broker) and this can drastically affect the 'Buyer Pool' for your home.  A reputable agent will show a prospective Buyer ALL available properties that meet their criteria however, if one property is listed as a 'mere posting' (For Sale by Owner) and requires confirmation by the Seller through a form that they will even pay a commission and at what rate of commission, just to ensure the Buyers agent will get paid - many agents will not go to the trouble.  Also in the event that the For Sale by Owner or Discount Brokerage is not paying full commission and the Co-operating broker has a Buyer Agency Agreement signed, then the Buyer would actually owe the difference to the Agent.  Why risk your biggest asset (your home) and reduce your Buyer Pool dramatically by listing privately?   Most For Sale by Owner listings do offer some form of commission and ultimately pay a Co-Operating Broker.  Therefore these Sellers are actually only 'saving' the difference in commission between what they paid the Buyer's Agent, the cost of the initial Listing service (these for sale by owner companies are not free) and the 5% standard fee.  Usually this ends up being somewhere around 2% commission savings after all fee's, added lawyer costs, etc.  But in most cases the For Sale by Owner Seller has much less interest in their home and limits the chance of multiple offers - if they are lucky enough to sell it, they often end up with less money in their pocket at the end of the transaction and have spent countless hours dealing with the sale.
  6. Cut Your Grass - This should be a given but some people need reminding that the curb appeal can be make or break whether you get top dollar for your home.  Whether you have a townhome in Erin Mills with a small piece of lawn or a massive property in Mineola with a lawn that doesn't stop, it is essential that it looks well taken care of.  For the weeks leading up to the sale - start watering your grass regularly, fertilize, and cut it at least weekly.  Nothing says neglect like an overgrown, weed filled lawn.
  7. Pick up your mail - If you are occupying your home then it should be assumed that you pick up the mail, flyers and newspapers that can show up in the mailbox and doorstep and recycle or organize it.  If it is vacant, it is important that flyers and newspapers do not accumulate on the doorstep.
  8. Clean, Clean, Clean - a dirty home is not desirable, it is that simple.  Everyone has a different definition of 'clean', but if there are crumbs on the floor or counter from your morning toast - this is not clean.  If dirty dishes are in the sink or the bed is not made, this is not clean.  Showers and tubs need to be sparkling - no mold, no hair, no tub rings - please!!  Vacuum carpets during the listing phase every couple of days or as needed.  Sweep up hardwood/ceramic floors daily.  Bonus Tip: if you have laminate or hardwood floors - Swiffer Wetjet is not your friend.  Despite the nice smell, it builds up a residue that dulls and makes floors sticky.  To remove this residue, use a water and vinegar mixture or a product like Bona Hardwood Floor cleaner.  It may take some effort to remove the residue depending on how long you have been using certain cleaners.

Hopefully these tips help you prepare your home a little better than the house down the street and get you TOP DOLLAR for your home.  Of course, these tips and many others are all part of the expertise I bring to the table when listing and selling your home with Tim Bishop!  Don't hesitate to contact me for a free, no obligation consultation on your home.

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