Friday, May 9, 2008

Tips for Selling in a Buyer's Market

As the summer season brings the usual slow-down in home sales activity, many cities in Canada that experienced hot sellers' markets over the spring are now seeing a change toward buyers' markets. But don't let that hamper your plans -- if you prepare properly and make the right moves, you can sell your house.

One of the first things real estate brokers and agents will encourage you to do if you're selling in a challenging market is to price your house appropriately.

"We are experiencing a buyer's market," said David Pylyp a buyers representative from West Toronto, ONT. "If you are a buyer this is good because there is a wide assortment of houses from which to select. If you are a seller it is especially important to have your house priced appropriately."

A real estate broker from Etobicoke, echoes similar sentiments. Although the number of sales has reduced slightly on a monthly basis prices appear to be holding with an average single family home priced at $ 390,000.

"Today there are more homes on the market, and if the homes are not priced at market, it will take 60 to 90 days to sell," said Clemente Cabillan.

Maybe, in Toronto the job stability is a major factor in the current market but low interest rates are contributing to homes selling.

"Our market continues to be soft; a true buyers' market," said David Pylyp "A significant percentage of the listings in our MLS have had at least one price decrease since they initially came on the market. Layoffs or potential layoffs by some of the area's large employers have dampened home-buying enthusiasm. However, continued low interest rates have provided a supply of buyers."

Some regions, like Oshawa and Pickering Ontario, are seeing a pronounced slowdown.

"We're definitely shifting into a buyers' market, but where are the buyers," said David Pylyp. "Thirty-year-low interest rates and I am hearing this story throughout the real estate community of a low volume of buyers, high volume for sale. For sellers, that translates to pricing very competitively to begin with and do those extra things that will make the house have super appeal."

So what can you do to give your house super appeal? For starters, you should:

Set your price competitively.

Offer incentives. If your carpet is old or outdated, offer a carpet allowance up front. If a potential buyer knows this right off the bat, they might be able to overlook the unattractive carpet - probably the first thing they'll notice when they walk in the door. Or, offer to include your appliances with the home. If you're moving into a new home, appliances may already be included, or you may be ready to upgrade. This type of offer will be especially enticing to first-time buyers who are putting most - if not all - of their available cash into their down payment and closing costs.

Offer to pay the nonrecurring closing costs - an adjustment on closing for broadloom, paint, redecorating, updating bathrooms or offering maintenance fees for a year, title insurance, or property inspections. Some have included Brand new appliances or Plasma TV. This can be a major motivation to cash-strapped buyers; these costs could run about 3 to 5 percent of the cost of the house or condo. Depending on your market and budget situations, you may offer to pay part or all of the costs.

Get a professional home inspection before you put your house on the market. Nothing will kill your deal quicker than a buyer's inspector finding a major problem during the inspection process. Even if you reach agreement with the buyer on who will pay how much of the repair work - or if you agree to pay all - the fact that the buyer has to wait for the repairs could put a damper on their plans, and even trigger them to break the deal, especially if there are plenty of other comparable houses on the market.

Be flexible. When you get an offer and the buyer wants to move in sooner than you'll be ready, make plans to stay in an apartment or with relatives until your new place is ready. A month or two of inconvenience will surely be worth it down the road.

Create good curb appeal. A home shopper's first impression is everything. The moment they pull up to the curb, they'll make an instant judgment. You'll want to be sure it's positive. You can begin by making sure leaves are raked up, and your shrubs and bushes are pruned. Make sure bikes and toys are out of sight.

Focus on your walls. If your walls are dirty, it will be an automatic turnoff to potential buyers. Think about touching up the paint on your walls before you put your home on the market, keeping the colors neutral and light. Save your favorite reds and greens for your next place, where you'll be staying put for awhile.

Make sure your home shows well. Get rid of all the clutter. Keep the house clean and simple. If you have a lot of knickknacks, keep them out of sight. Make sure there are no lingering pet or smoke odors. Set out some fresh flowers. Turn on some light music.

Let the light in. Open blinds and curtains so plenty of light illuminates the home's interior. And, most importantly, be patient. Don't be too hasty in reducing your asking price. But be ready to when the time comes. You'll want to talk to your agent about how long homes are staying on the market in your neighborhood. The time to think about reducing your price is once you pass that mark.

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