There are a lot of things to consider when it is time to put your home on the market. We have created a 12 step guide to help simplify the process from start to finish.
1) Get to Know Your Local Real Estate Market. Whether this is the first time you are selling or you have sold a number of times there are always a lot of things to consider. When selling your home you will want to hire an agent with a lot of experience. Selling your home is different from buying wherein experience level of your Realtor is key to getting top dollar. Engaging an Agent to help you start preparing for a sale is the first major step. To pick a local Realtor you should:
- Do an online search. Visit Agent websites, read about them and what they have to offer. Do they have an easy to use and presentable site? Do they have any of their own listings and are any of their sales statistics presented?
- Reviews are huge! Read the reviews of Realtors you have identified as options for you to hire to sell your home. There are a number of great sites such as Google, Facebook and Rate My Agent. Not only look at the quality of the reviews but also look at the number of reviews. Compare that to each Agent to get a feel for the experience of working with that Agent.
- Research the local Realtors in your market area. Is there an Agent who has a number of listings or has a lot of marketing in your area?
- Ask around. Have your friends, families or co-workers sold recently in Kamloops? How was their experience with the Realtor they hired to sell their home.
Once you have a short list of real estate professionals it is time to interview. It is a good idea to meet the potential Realtors who would be representing you.
2) Market Evaluation for Your Home: Interviewing an Agent. You have shortlisted potential Agents and now you have set up time to meet. Typically, a market evaluation takes 45 minutes to one hour. This all depends on the size of your property. A large estate could take longer than an hour while a small condo much less time. The Agent will prepare a Comparative Market Analysis to present to you showing you the recent sales in your market area. You will discuss:
- Pricing strategy and your home value
- Marketing strategy and how that Agent works to get you the most exposure and money for your home.
- The things that need to be done prior to listing your home for sale. Do you need some staging or downsizing? Would a landscape clean-up need to happen or a professional clean before you open your doors to prospective buyers? Your Agent will be able to advise you on what is the best course of action.
- This is your opportunity to ask any questions you have about selling your home and how your Agent will represent you with the sale.
It is important to find someone you are comfortable with and feel you could trust.
3) Check in with your Mortgage Broker. It is very important to know what to expect with your mortgage. You need to find out from your mortgage broker:
- Is your mortgage portable to another property? Most major banks do allow you to port your mortgage but there is a time limit which is usually 90 days. Find out if your mortgage is portable to another property and what the limitations are.
- Do you have a mortgage penalty? If you sell your home and don't purchase another one is there a penalty? Find out how much that is so you know what your closing obligations are once your home is sold. Often if you are selling before your term is over there will be some sort of penalty.
- Is your mortgage assumable? If you have a low interest rate at times an assumable mortgage is a benefit for a seller. This way you as a seller can offer this as a buying incentive where a Buyer can assume your mortgage at a lower rate than what they can obtain at current rates. Ask if this is something that your lender offers.
- Do you qualify for bridge financing? Some people qualify to purchase a new home before selling their own. This comes in two different forms:
- a seller buys a home before they list their existing home for sale or secure an accepted offer on their home or
- a seller secures an unconditional sale on their home but gets to move into a new home a week or so before they receive funds for the sale of their home.
Bridge financing or a bridge loan can be expensive, so if you are considering this look into all the details before committing to a purchase and sale.
4) Determine Your Course of Action. Are you selling before you buy or what is your plan of action going to be? Things to consider:
- If you sell your home before securing another, where would you live if you are not able to line closing dates up?
- Will your bank give you a bridge loan or finance a purchase before your home is sold?
- What are the closing costs in each scenario?
- What are the current market conditions? Is it smarter to sell first and then buy or is it better to buy a home first and then sell?
Your Realtor can talk you through all of these scenarios.
5) You Have Now Decided who the right Realtor is For You. Hire that Agent! Schedule a meeting with your Realtor to discuss listing your home. What this meeting will include:
- Scheduling the professionals needed to prepare for your home to go live on the Multiple Listing Service. Photographers, videographers, stagers, cleaners, and anyone else needed to ensure your home shows its best.
- Signing listing paperwork. It is good to go through all the listing documents and discuss the disclosure with your agent to ensure your documents are filled out thoroughly and accurately.
- Finalize the asking price.
- Ensure you provide your agent with all the updates and upgrades you have done to the home including the dates in which those upgrades and updates were completed. It is important to have a thorough list of those details for potential buyers.
- Have your keys ready. A spare key for your home is important so that showing Agents have easy access to show their Buyer clients your home. Are you in a strata or condo? Obtain a main door key or fob and any amenity room, community rooms or storage room keys as well.
- Prepare your additional documents: Do you have a rental unit in your home? Have a copy of your tenancy agreement and your tenant contact details. Do you have a survey certificate? Can you provide your utility costs for the previous calendar year?
Having all of your documentation ready to go makes the listing process much smoother and straight forward. This way your agent has all of the tools to market your property to it’s fullest potential.
6) Make Sure You Know the Total Cost to Sell Your Home. There are a number of fees to calculate when selling your home. Make sure you consider:
- Costs to prepare your home for sale. Any suggested upgrades, professionals etc. you have hired prior to listing your home for sale?
- Any storage needed off site? Less stuff in a home is better than a full home. Is this something you will need to help secure a better sale price?
- Is a pre-listing home inspection needed? Or are there any professional reports needed before listing your home for sale?
- Real estate commission (this also includes an additional 5% GST on the commission which Realtors are required to collect and remit to the government).
- Legal fees
- Any mortgage penalties and bridge loan costs
- Moving costs
Sellers do not pay property transfer tax (PTT) when they sell a home. In BC this is at the Buyer's cost, but if you are buying a new home you’ll need to pay PTT when you buy.
7) It is Go time! Professionals are starting to show up and you are getting closer to listing your home on MLS. Do your last-minute decluttering and depersonalizing. It is acceptable to have some family photos around your home but not an overwhelming number of them. Make sure when a Buyer opens your cupboards and closets, they are orderly and things aren't falling out. Clear as many surfaces of clutter and knick knacks as you can. Kitchens are often full of small appliances and tools on the countertops. Put as much of that away as you can. Your home will show much better. Look at your entryway, when a buyer arrives at your home is there room to come in or do you have a lot of things to trip over? If you are finding that there is not room for all of your things to be presented in a tidy manner it is time to get a storage locker!
8) Make a Plan for Showings. Do you have pets and kids? It is important that you prepare for the upcoming showings. Usually, the first one to two weeks are busy and it tends to slow down after that. Make sure you have a place to go to accommodate showings. Buyers agents do not want the homeowner to be home or pets running wild around the house. Plan to give them privacy when viewing your home.
9) You’re On the Market! Now What? There will be scheduled showings for your home. Typically, a Buyer is escorted by a Buyer's agent who represents them. Those Agents will come from different brokerages that work throughout Kamloops and BC. When you are listed for sale on MLS there is a cooperation agreement among all Agents who hold a Real Estate Trading License in BC. You will predominantly get showings with local Kamloops Agents however we do see Realtors from out of town coming to show their Buyers our listings.
A showing for a typical home is usually booked for a duration of between 30 minutes to one hour. Expect to vacate your home during that time.
10) An Offer Comes In and it is Time to Negotiate! Home purchase offers are often very similar. There are some common conditions or subjects you will find on a number of purchase agreements. These common conditions are:
- Financing Subject: this usually requires approximately 10 business days to complete. Often banks or financial institutions require an appraisal. Buyers normally have a pre-approval in place but in order to get a final approval the lender requires a purchase agreement. This is what is happening during the 10 business days. The lender is not only approving the buyer's financing but they are essentially approving the property being sold.
- Home Inspection Subject: A home inspection is often a condition of sale the majority of times when a home is sold in Kamloops. We rarely see buyers make offers without this condition unless the home is very new and under New Home Warranty. A home inspection usually happens during the 10 business days in parallel with the condition to financing. An inspector will normally require three to five hours to inspect an average sized home. Our sellers receive a list of recommended things they should do before the inspection occurs to ensure great results.
- Buyer's Subject to Sale of the Buyer's Home: This condition regularly comes up when selling a home. A buyer loves your home but in order to purchase it they have to enter into an unconditional contract to sell their own home. This condition usually runs longer than the 10 business days. Buyers often will not have their home listed for sale until they find a home to buy. Often a subject to sale clause can go for a couple of weeks to a few months depending on the situation. You are not 'stuck' in a contract with a clause like this as long as there is something called a time clause in the agreement. The time clause allows a Seller to accept another offer and gives the Buyer notice to either commit to buying the home or let the Seller sell their home to someone else. Time clauses often run from 24 to 72 hours on a typical subject to sale agreement. If the first buyer fails to remove all their conditions within the specified period of the time clause, then their offer is bumped and a new accepted offer is in place.
- Document review conditions: When a Seller fills out their listing documents they are presented with a Property Disclosure Statement and the Title for the home. Both of these documents are incorporated into the agreement with the Buyer and the Buyer must approve them as a condition of the sale.
- Strata Document review condition: For strata properties there is a condition to reviewing all of the strata documents (or for those on lease properties Home Owner Association documents). Your Listing Agent is required to have a full copy of these documents to give to the Buyer's Agent or Buyer before the property is listed for sale.
11) Approaching Closing Day! The closing day is the date where a Seller receives the funds for the sale of their home. This is also called the completion date. This date is negotiated at the time a contract of purchase and sale is agreed to between the Buyer and Seller. A closing or completion date can be as short as a week after subject removal or months later. During this time Sellers are packing and organizing for their move. After the subject removal occurs and the sale is unconditional a Seller will firm up their legal representation. All documents are sent to the lawyer or notary at this time in preparation for closing. Not all lawyers and notaries can do a quick close so if your sale completes very fast you may have more limited options for who you can use to complete conveyancing of the transaction. We find that a typical completion for a home in Kamloops is 45 to 60 days.
12) Last Steps in the Sale of Your Home A couple days before the completion date you will meet with your lawyer or notary to sign all the final documents. The legal team will call you in advance to get all extra information they require in order to execute the final completion. If you have not heard from them within a few days of closing definitely alert your agent to this as you need to meet your legal team in order to sign off on the transfer of title.
Before you leave the property, it is important to ensure the following is done:
- You have satisfied any extra contingencies in the contract. A couple examples would be; have the home professionally cleaned, service a furnace, replace a hot water tank etc. Buyers often require receipts for work completed.
- Leave the property clean and tidy. Leave your home as you would like to receive it.
- Double check all the closets and secret hiding places. Don't leave any of your belongings behind.
- Make sure your appliances are working (unless specified in your agreement) and leave behind any manuals for your appliances.
- Ensure your furnace and air conditioner are in working order.
- Leave all extra keys in the home in a safe place for the Buyer. Don't forget to include any garage remotes and mail keys!
- Double-check you have notified all of your utility service providers of your final date of ownership.
- Make sure you collected all your belongings from the outside of the home. Storage sheds should be clear and extra debris around the home removed.
- During winter months are the walks cleared of snow? Kamloops can get a lot of snow and it is a nice thing to give buyers possession of a home where they don't have to shovel themselves in on moving day.
- During the summer or warmer months do a last lawn mow. The last thing a buyer wants to do is mow the lawn when they have a full house to unpack.
It is important to have a clear plan for your home from start to finish. It makes the task of selling your home much less stressful. If you are thinking about selling your home and would like a free, no obligation home evaluation contact us any time.