How to boost your home’s selling potential

Reporter/Byline: Mark Weisleder for the Toronto Star

house for sale

Selling a home isn’t as simple as planting a “For Sale” sign in the ground. It involves preparation, strategic timing, and smart advice. But common mistakes may keep your house on the market. Here’s how to avoid them.

Good photos matter

Buyers are increasingly being introduced to properties online. Pictures and videos matter. Before you take any photo, make sure your home has been properly de-cluttered, inside and out, and consider staging tips that will make the rooms appear larger. Pictures from your own iPhone will not impress anyone. All photographs should be professional grade.

An MLS listing isn’t enough

In addition to the MLS, your home could benefit from being marketed on social media and directly advertised to other real estate agents — both local and otherwise. Many foreign investors want Canadian real estate, as they view it as a safe investment. You need to reach every potential buyer.

The price isn’t right

A home is likely to attract the most interest within the first two weeks of being listed. If the home is overpriced, buyers will move on. Be realistic when you set a sale price. Check out the competition and see what recent sales have been like in the area. Remember, the longer a house sits on the market, the more likely that people will start wondering whether something is wrong with it.

Buyers can’t get in to have a look

You never know when a potential buyer will want to see a property. It might be late in the evening or at another inconvenient time. If you turn down a buyer’s request to tour the house, he or she will typically move on to the next home for sale, where the owner is more accommodating.

Your timing is wrong

Most buyers like to close before the beginning of the school year, to avoid too much disruption. Since closing usually happens 60 days after the offer is signed, you may want to try to time your sale to happen between April and June. Keep in mind that people often vacation in the summer.

The house has stigma

Sometimes two homes look similar, but one backs onto a ravine and the other to a hydro line. Make sure your agent asks for feedback from people who have seen your home but who didn’t make an offer. If there is something outside the home that is bothering buyers, either figure out how to address it or adjust your selling price. If your neighbours are aware of any issues with your home, be upfront and tell buyers in advance. They may ask the neighbours anyway, as part of their due diligence.

You have the wrong realtor

When you interview realtors, it should never be about choosing the one with the lowest cost. You have too much money riding on the decision. Ask realtors you meet with about their own marketing plans and social media presence, and get references from past clients. Be sure to ask this simple question — why should I hire you? If they can’t demonstrate why they are unique, move on.

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