If you haven’t sold a home in a while, be prepared for much more knowledgeable buyers than in the past. The information buyers collect about your house, whether good or bad, can be used in your favor, as long as you anticipate what might arise in their minds.
Doing some scouting around in advance will inform you about things you may not have planned for and will allow you to take corrective actions before you put your home on the market. The goal is to eliminate as many red flags as possible in advance. That’s smart selling and more money in your pocket at closing.
Here are a few tips you can do to stay one step ahead of the next generation.
Google your address. You never know what will come up when you do. Google it ahead of time will allow you to come up with a strategy should questions arise.
Research your property file at the council. Nearly every town has online access to public records of each property. In the past, potential buyers had to spend hours scanning the microfiche in the basement of town hall to do their research. Today, they can do so with just a few clicks.
What should you be on the look out for?
You might find an old permit that was never signed off when your contractor did some work for you a few years ago. Is the fireplace permitted? Do the plans match on file match your dwelling? Any uncompleted or missing information in the property file could pose a problem down the road. If you figure it out before you list, you can remedy it or present the solution in advance of the buyer asking for one.
Look up your listing and sales history. A property’s sales history, days on the market or previous sale used to be locked up in the real-estate agent’s database and the only person with the key was the agent.
Now, it’s all out there.
Was your home listed a year earlier, but failed to sell? A buyer will see this and try to understand your history or motivations. Did you buy the home two years earlier for 10% less — or 10% more — than your list price? Buyers may try to leverage history to their advantage.
Take a lot of quality photos. If you looked up the listing from when you bought your home, would you be satisfied with the photos that could still be out there in cyberspace?
Today’s buyers are high-tech, curious and research-oriented, which raises the risk that they’ll run into those not-so-flattering photos from the old listing.
So give the people what they want: pictures (lots of them), aerial photography is great for showing proximity to the harbour or ocean and surrounding neighbourhood, twilight images can be an added feature for those properties that aren’t so eye catching by day, floor plans are a new feature that some buyers might be interested in. Basically we need to give them a tour of your property like they would move through a video game.
Some shortsighted buyers skip perfectly good listings simply because only a few photos are available and mostly of the same room. They think the seller is trying to hide something.
Know the most recent sales. Study the comparable house sales in the neighborhood before setting a price or listing your home for sale. However, sometimes one sale is off the charts in a bad way. The home may have sold at a huge discount because of an expensive structural issue or land defect. Know the back story of any relevant sales that aren’t in line with your list price.
these exercises may seem tedious and time consuming, you must assume that every
serious buyer will use whatever information is available to pick your home
apart before making a serious play for it. Be prepared.
Should you list your property for sale with us, we will run through these steps with you and focus on any points that need attention prior your property going on the market.