Buyers FAQ

Sellers most frequently asked questions

Selling your house in Calgary

Property sells year round. It is mostly a function of supply and demand, as well as other economic factors. The time of year you choose to sell can make a difference in the amount of time it takes and the final selling price. Weather conditions are often a consideration in some areas. Generally prime selling season here in Calgary for all types of properties is February to June.

During the summer, the market usually slows. The summer is usually the slowest season for sales across Canada. In Calgary, that time is marked by the start of the Calgary Stampede. August builds slowly into the fall season which usually lasts until November. December 1st we always see a sharp drop in inventory as sellers take their homes off the market for the Christmas season; however, serious buyers rarely take a month off their search and with reduced inventory, December is often a very strong month for sales.

The two most important factors are price and condition in selling a home. The first step is to price it properly. Then, go through the house to see if there are any cosmetic defects that can be repaired.

A third factor is exposure. It is also important that the home gets the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage, professional photography and electronic media and listing on the local Multiple Listing Service® system, as well as the internet.

Choose the real estate REALTOR® that you believe will get the job done, not the one that quotes you the highest price, knows the market and has a solid marketing plan to see a timely sale.

A comparative market analysis is an estimate of market value performed by a real estate REALTOR® or broker. It is based on sales and listings that will compete with your property that are similar in size, style and location. A range of values will be determined thus arriving at a probable market value. Many REALTORS® offer a free market analysis.

A professional appraisal is also a valuable way to determine your home's value. If you are moving because of a corporate relocation, an appraisal may be mandatory to determine the value of your relocation package.

I always remind my homeowners that their city tax assessment is not their market value. This value is based on the averages of their communities as of July 1st of the previous year - hardly today's market value.

The way you live in a home and the way you sell a house are two different things. First and foremost, "declutter" counter tops, walls and rooms. Too many "things" make it difficult for the buyer to see their possessions in your rooms or on your walls, however don't strip everything completely or it will appear stark and inhospitable. Then clean and make attractive all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It's especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless. Organize closets. Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work and get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords. Make sure the house smells good: from an apple pie, cookies baking or spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Hide the kitty litter, and possibly put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house. Pleasant background music is also a nice touch.

The second important thing to consider is "curb appeal." People driving by a property will judge it from outside appearances and make a decision then as to whether or not they want to see the inside. Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and clean debris from the yard. Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Also make sure that the doorbell works.

Yes! Minor repairs before putting the house on the market may lead to a better sales price. Buyers often include a contingency "inspection clause" in the purchase contract which allows them to back out if numerous defects are found. Once the problems are noted, buyers can attempt to negotiate repairs or lowering the price with the seller. Any known problems that are not repaired must be revealed as a material defect. You do not have to repair the problem, only reveal it and the house should be appropriately priced for that defect.

Items sellers often disclose include: homeowners association dues: whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; the presence of any neighbourhood nuisances or noises which a prospective buyer might not notice, such as any restrictions on the use of property, including but not limited to zoning ordinances or association rules.

It is wise to review the seller's written disclosure prior to a home purchase and ask questions if it does not satisfy you entirely.

No, according to experts, sellers do not have to disclose the terms of other offers. You may disclose the existence of other offers, so that all parties are aware that they should be submitting their best offer.

Yes, the two basic contingencies in a purchase contract are financing and inspections. Sellers might also see a condition for "sale of the buyer's home," which is frequent with relocating clients that have to move, but their home in their former city has not yet sold.

Absolutely! When the purchase contract for your home is presented to you, please take a moment to read section 2.1 and reflect on what that means. It says, "The Buyer and the Seller agree to act cooperatively, reasonably, diligently and in good faith." If the buyer is asking for 5-7 business days to confirm financing, that's reasonable. For recreational property, the buyer might need two weeks as many lenders seek approval from head offices outside Alberta. If the conditions is subject to the Sale of the Buyer's home, you can accept that condition but your home will continue to be marketed to other buyers in the event this buyer fails to sell their home.

In competing offers, one buyer may omit conditions. Initially this may seem more attractive, but what if financing falls through and the buyer is unable to complete the transaction and close? Conditions are there for the buyers and the sellers, so working with them is always the best solution to reaching a deal.

Even in a slow market, price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a home.

If a home is not getting the activity it needs in order to sell it is probably because it is overpriced for the market. The first step is to lower the price. Then go through the house and see if there are cosmetic defects that you missed that can be repaired.

The second step is to make sure that the home is getting the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage and a listing on the Multiple Listing Service® system and internet.

A third option is to remove the home from the market and wait for overall housing conditions to improve and catch up to the price your asking.

Finally, frustrated sellers who have no equity and are forced to sell because of a long term illness, divorce or financial considerations should discuss a short sale or a deed in lieu of a foreclosure with their mortgage lender and their REALTOR®.

A short sale is when the seller finds a buyer for a price that is below the mortgage amount and negotiates the difference with the lender.

In a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure, the lender agrees to take the house back without instituting foreclosure proceedings. These are considered more radical options than lowering the price.

A "short sale" is for home sellers who are upside down on their mortgage. The home's value is less than the amount of the mortgage. A hardship must exist, then sometimes home owners can negotiate with lenders and split the difference between the sale price and loan amount, which still must be paid. A short sale is often complicated. If the loan has been sold into the secondary market, the lender will have to get permission from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to negotiate a short sale. Fannie Mae, the secondary market giant, has a policy of looking at each loan individually. If the loan was a low-down-payment mortgage with private mortgage insurance (or PMI), the lender needs to involve the mortgage insurance company that insured the low-down loan. Once all these issues are resolved or negotiated, the house may be sold..

Market time will vary from community to community and between price points. In general, it will take between 30-60 days to market your home, find a buyer, agree on a contract and have the sale be firm. Possession day can be anywhere from two weeks to 60 days in most cases.

Your REALTOR® begins marketing your home before the sign is in your front lawn. Networking with other realtors helps start the marketing buzz. Broker open houses helps us share your home with other realtors and get great feedback prior to the public launch of marketing. MLS is still the biggest marketing tool for residential real estate but other electronic media will support this including virtual tours of your listing, professional digital photography, cross-marketing on a variety of Royal Lepage and my REALTOR® web site. Public open houses, directional signs and traditional mailouts all increase the traffic to your door and ultimately result in an offer to purchase.

The marketing process can take a little longer. If you have an acreage, a recreational property or there's a winter storm that puts the city under a blanket of snow and arctic temperatures, finding a buyer can take a bit longer. Rest assured that everything sells for a price and there is a right price for every buyer.

I have been a full-time realtor since 2006. As a Certified Relocation Specialist, I have assisted clients from all over the world for a successful relocation to Calgary.

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#1850, 1632-14 Avenue N.W., Calgary, Alberta T2N 1M7

val@relocatewithval.ca

403-690-7629

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