Agent Tips for Selling Your Home in the Spring

The Toronto Real Estate Board’s latest report didn’t contain much in the way of surprises.

Residential sales were up 17.7% compared to March 2016, with the average selling price increasing by 33.2% in the same period. It is a familiar narrative for anyone that has been paying close attention to the Toronto property market over the past year.

For those planning to buy a home, the latest statistics from TREB won’t make for happy reading. For those on the selling side, however, the ball is firmly in their court – but that’s not to say they can take anything for granted. Spring is traditionally the busiest time of year for homes sales, and although supply has really become a real concern in the GTA, 2017 will be no different.

The Spring Market Still Requires Strategy

But while there’s a host of potential buyers flooding the Toronto real estate market, anyone planning on selling their home still needs to ensure they have all their ducks in a row.

“You can’t just assume your house will sell,” says Zoocasa Broker of Record Chantel Crisp. “You still have to price it right. There are two pricing strategies that are common right now. The traditional strategy is where the home sells for 98% of asking price.”

The current market in the GTA is anything but traditional, though, and pricing a home for sale reflects that. Current consensus says the more people that view a property, the higher the final sale price will be. It is a balancing act, and something that usually requires the input of professionals with expertise in such matters.

“If homes are not priced correctly, you won’t necessarily get multiple offers,” she says. “You need to decide with your agent on what marketing strategy you will use. If you want to get more money, then you need to be staging and marketing your home accordingly and not just be expecting to sell for top dollar.”

“Declutter and De-personalize”

Aside from setting a realistic price, a seller also needs to make sure the property is in pristine condition. There are a lot of variables to consider when selling your home, and appearance certainly matters a great deal.

“When you are getting a home ready for sale, it takes a lot of decluttering and depersonalizing,” says Crisp. “It’s psychological – when buyers walk in the front door they want to be able to picture themselves living in the house. If it has family pictures and a lot of other stuff, they can’t focus on the bones of the home. It is best to have it staged as neutral as possible.” 

Related Read: The Price Difference Home Staging Can Make

Be Realistic About Your Investment

Toronto’s housing market has received a lot of focus over the past month, with policymakers at provincial, federal and municipal levels weighing in on affordability. Various economists and representatives of the Big Five have offered their two cents as well, specifically, the need to cool the market. This atmosphere makes the job of agents like Crisp that much harder, especially when it comes to dealing with clients making their first step onto the property ladder.

“We have a lot more conversations with buyers on how long they plan to buy for,” she says. “If it is a first-time buyer that is not currently invested in the real estate market, they will be a little nervous about jumping in with all the hoopla in the media that the sky is about to fall.”

Such forecasts are overblown in Crisp’s view, and while some price adjustment may be in the cards down the line, she doesn’t foresee a major collapse in the market any time soon.

“From what we can see there is nothing to suggest there is a bubble about to burst,” she says. “If you are only looking to buy for one or two years, that is something to be concerned about. But if you are buying for five, 10, 20 years, you can ride out any bubble if it does actually happen.”

About Daibhead O’Ceallacháin

Daibhead O’Ceallacháin is a freelance writer from Ireland that moved to Toronto in 2010. Writing for his local newspaper, he covered real estate during Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” era and the subsequent housing crash and financial crisis. Today he writes about real estate, finance and politics in Canada, the U.S., Ireland and England.

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