THE HOME LISTING PROCESS
Once you have decided to list your property for sale, you can count on an agent to:
- Put your home on the market in a timely manner. A team should be highly organized and prepared to work intensively for you to meet your timelines.
- Take care of all the paperwork and organize all the details, from staggers to professional photographers and floor plans.
- Advise you about your legal rights, sale options, and obligations.
- Check in with you frequently to advise you on what is happening behind the scenes, provide feedback from showings and keep you updated on what is being done on an ongoing basis to actively market your property.
- Negotiate offers to get you the best price and the best terms.
Real estate never stops, homes can be sold over the Christmas holidays and even in traditionally slower months, like August. Though spring and fall are the most active seasons for real estate, in the summer and winter there are usually fewer homes for sale to accommodate the needs of Buyers, so your property would have more exposure. Going a little bit against the grain has helped clients in the past, but we will look at all factors, keeping your ultimate goals and timelines in mind, and determine the best time for you to sell.
In order to put your home on the market, legal documents will come into play. The most important of these is the Listing Agreement, which is a contract between you and the brokerage. It will:
- Clearly spell out the rights and obligations of all parties, the length of the agreement, and the compensation (commission rate).
- Set the listing price.
The second major form is the MLS Data Form for putting your home on the Multiple Listings Service (exclusive agreements are different, used less often, and may be appropriate in some cases but we will discuss that during our consultation.) The MLS data form will:
- Accurately describe the property (including lot size, building size, style, and materials, floor areas, heating/cooling systems, room sizes and descriptions)
- Detail what is, and what is not, included in the sale. As a general rule, fixtures are included; chattels, things which are movable, are not, but each transaction is unique, so take some time to decide what you would like to do.
- Provide information about annual property taxes, and note any easements, rights of way, liens or charges against the property.
In addition to these documents, there are other forms to spell out in writing your preferences about showings, offer dates, and other important items. These documents are binding for us both, so we will go over them very carefully before you sign anything! Of course, you will receive copies of all the signed documents for your records.
There are also some things an agent will need from you, including:
- Plan of survey or sketch showing the lot size, location of buildings and any encroachments from neighboring properties. You should hopefully have this from when you bought your property. Not to worry if you do not – most offers do not hinge upon a survey.
- Property tax receipts. The Listing Agreement will include information about your annual property tax assessments, so I will need to verify your taxes with a receipt.
- Mortgage verification. Details about your mortgage provided by a mortgage lender upon your authorization.
- Other documentation such as annual heating bills, water and sewage costs, electricity bills and recent expenditures on home improvements.
- Fintrac documents – I will need some of your personal information like date of birth and ID to verify for the Federal listing requirements.
I will make copies of all the above and return the originals to you. I will develop a detailed, custom marketing plan that will give your property the maximum exposure and attention it deserves. Some of the ways I use to market a client’s properties include:
- Feature spot on the front page of my very high-ranking website.
- Thorough, accurate MLS listing with pictures, text and details.
- Full-colour feature sheets that are offered to all prospective Buyers.
- Professional floor plans that are both accurate and attractive
- Professional photography capturing your home in its best light.
- High profile For Sale sign for freehold homes.
- Using my vast online social network.
- Just Listed cards mailed to the neighborhood.
- Advertisements in print media such as the Globe and Mail, National Post, Post City Magazines and others.
For some homes, an agent can even arrange cleaning, painting, formal staging and/or even a pre-sale home inspection from a qualified inspector so your home’s condition is honestly disclosed to potential Buyers. We will discuss which extras your home may need, as well my full list of advertising options, when we meet! You will always be informed about what actions are being taken to sell your home, and receive regular progress updates regarding feedback from showings and other interest on your home. I will also be sure to keep you up-to-date on sales of other homes in the area to keep you informed.
During the listing period, your house should be ready to show at all times – meaning clean and clutter-free. Remember that those last minute touches before someone come’s to view your home can make all the difference:
- Turn on all the lights, even during the day, and open all the drapes and blinds.
- Turn off the TV and play soft music.
- If you can, ask friends to look after your pets or remove them for showings. Some people may be allergic, others may be afraid of animals.
- You may be used to the smell of cigarette smoke and pet or food odors over time; others walking into your home, are not! Smell is very important and odors should be aired out with fabrics and surfaces cleaned, not just sprayed.
- Leave windows and mirrors sparkling.
- Set out fresh flowers, hang decorative towels in the bathroom, and make sure couch cushions are straightened.
If possible: leave! Some Buyers are uncomfortable when the owner is in the house. In their hurry to get away, they may miss important features, or fail to ask important questions. They want to be able to talk freely about how they feel about your home and they may not want to say these things in front of you. If you must remain, be courteous, but try to stay in another part of the house and do not make conversation. The Buyer’s Realtor knows what the Buyer is looking for and can discuss features and answer questions.