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Advice to sellers
First impressions are important
Remember, when a prospect comes to look at your house, the first thing he will see is your home’s front door ! Be sure that it is fresh, and clean. Be sure your lawn and landscaping is well manicured and trim looking. Be sure your yard is free of refuse and leaves. If it snowed, be certain that you’ve removed the ice and snow from walk and steps.
What you show is what you get
Faded walls and worn woodwork will reduce the appeal of your home. Why try to tell a prospect how your home could look… When you can show him by a reasonable amount of redecoration ? A quicker sale at a higher price will result. Invest in wallpaper in the kitchen or bathroom. It will pay dividends for you.
Let the sun shine in
Open those drapes and curtains all the way, so the prospect can see how bright and cheerful your home is.
Fix that leaky faucet
Since dripping water discolors sinks and suggests faulty or worn-out plumbing.
Little things mean a lot
Take a few minutes to check to be sure that your doors don’t stick or have loose knobs on them. Don’t forget your windows and cabinet drawers. Get all those minor flaws fixed since they detract from your home’s value.
Safety first and always
Keep stairways clear and clean since this will avoid injuries around your home, as well as avoid detracting by distraction.
From top to bottom
Display your attic, basement, and other utility space (including crawl spaces) by removing all unnecessary articles. A coat of paint can do wonders if your basement is dark and dreary.
Make them look bigger by having them neat and well organized to show that your home has ample closet space.
Bathrooms sell homes …
Make these rooms sparkle ! Check and repair any damaged or discolored caulking in the bathtubs and showers, and be sure that the towels and area rugs are bright.
Bedrooms shouldn’t sleep …
Keep these rooms bright and cheerful. Remove any excess furniture and be sure and use attractive and colorful bedspreads, and fresh curtains.
Shine on …
Your home’s illumination can be a “welcome” sign to that prospective buyer! Turn on all of your outside and inside light when showing your home at night and he’ll feel a glowing warmth as a result of your lighting.
Two’s a couple & three’s a crowd
Don’t have too many people present during a home inspection, since the potential buyers will feel like an intruder and want to hurry through your house.
Music soothes the savage beast
But not the potential buyer. When showing your house, turn off that blaring radio or television. Let me and the buyer talk freely and not be distracted.
Curb your dog
A dog is “man’s best friend”, but not when showing your home. Keep all pets out of the way and not underfoot.
Silence is golden
Be courteous and friendly, but don’t try to “force” conversation with a potential buyer. He’s there to inspect your home.
Be it ever so humble
There’s no place like your home. Never apologize for the appearance of your home. If any objections or derogatory comments are offered, let me answer them ? that is my job.
Stay in the background
I know the buyer’s needs and desires and can better emphasize the virtues of your home when you’re not “tagging along”. If there are any questions, I will call you.
Don’t put the cart before the horse…
Trying to sell the prospective purchasers any of the furniture or furnishings which you’re not taking with you, before they’ve purchased your home, can often lose the sale… so “cool it”.
A word to the wise
Let me discuss the selling price, terms, possession and other factors with the customer. I have been trained and have experience, so let me bring your negotiations to a satisfactory conclusion.
Go ahead and use our broker
We recommend that we show your home to prospective customers only by appointment through our agency. This will be sincerely appreciated and will help us make the sale more quickly.
Commission… Do you get what you pay for?
If you are like most of our clients, you live 2013 at maximum speed. Between work, family, activities and your health, plus the stress related to phone calls and emails, you have limited time. Consequently, if you have to move this year, it is possible that you decide to give the responsibility of realizing your real estate dreams to a professional broker.
After a brief research, you find a few real estate service offers and you wonder how much commission you should pay for quality service. The objective when you sell a property is to save time and money and obtain the best possible selling price.
Traditionally, during the sale of a property, you pay a percentage that can vary according to the services offered and only at the time the house is sold. It is essential to ask the broker to show a written marketing plan before choosing him/her, in order to better assess your investment. Some offers might seem clearly less expensive than average, but if the broker does not have a quality and well organized marketing plan, if he/she is not available for the visits and if his/her experience in your market and his/her negotiation skills are limited, this decision might be costly, even if the commission percentage is lower.
Make sure that you get what you pay for by hiring a broker who can demonstrate his/her experience and skills with the presentation of a complete and innovative marketing plan as well as with warranty and insurance programs to which you are entitled. A good broker will have the skills to maximize your selling price during negotiations with the buyer and will know, if required, how to organize an environment of multiple offers to your advantage while conforming to the rules of fellow agents.
The choice of a real estate broker is an important decision that will impact the overall transaction. It is crucial to deal with someone you trust, who will offer high quality service and protect your interest while obtaining the best selling price for you … chose carefully!
20 useful tips
The first impression
Don’t forget that the first impression visitors have will be from the main entrance of the house. Make sure that everything is clean and freshly painted, as required. The grass and landscaping must be maintained regularly and make sure dead leaves and garbage in backyard are not visible. Remove the snow if it snowed as well as any ice on the stairs or entrance.
Present the house the way it is
In order to avoid having to explain what the house could look like, make sure to refresh areas with paint where applicable, replace wall paper if damaged, repair visible cracks as well as broken tiles if necessary.
Let the sun shine in
Open the blinds and curtains; the visitor will see how bright and joyful your house is.
No leaking faucets
Leaking faucets spoil the look of a bath or sink and indicate defective plumbing.
Even the smallest detail is important
Take the time to verify that all the doors, drawers, sliding and casement windows work well. Make all the adjustments and your house will increase in value.
Make sure that the stairs are free from any obstacles and that everything is tidy because visitors will want to see everything, safely! Accidents must be avoided because they might ruin the visit … don’t forget, you are trying to sell!
From top to bottom
Enhance the look of the attic, light up the basement and other storage areas. A coat of paint in the basement might make the whole difference.
Maximize storage areas
This is the opportunity to clean up the cupboards and show visitors that they will have lots of storage space.
Bathrooms influence the decision of the buyer
These rooms must be sparkling clean, faucets cleaned, cracks and missing caulking filled, clean towels and personal toiletries neatly arranged.
Light up these rooms and keep them clean, remove useless furniture, use nice and colorful comforters and clean the blinds and curtains.
Lighting, a key element
A well-lit house is a sign of welcoming. If visitors come during the evening, leave the outside and inside lights on and replace light bulbs if required.
Too many people
Avoid having too many people in the house during a visit, the buyers would have the impression of disturbing your family life and will tend to hurry their visit and might miss some important features your house has to offer.
Your taste in music might be different from a visitor’s, make sure you lower the sound and turn off the television. Let your broker talk to his/her client in peace, the results might surprise you.
Beware of the dog
Animals are human’s best friends, but some visitors might be afraid of them and can’t stand their presence – make sure you keep them at a distance.
Let the broker do the talking
Be welcoming and attentive but don’t do the work of the broker. The client is there to visit, not to have a conversation.
The best looking house in the area
It might be true, but let the buyer discover that by him/herself! Don’t talk about the unique opportunity available to him/her. If the visitor tells you about some defects or expresses a rude remark, be attentive and keep your comments to yourself – the broker will intervene.
Keep a Low Profile
Nobody knows your home as well as you do. But Sales Associates know buyers – what they need and what they want. Your Associate will have an easier time articulating the virtues of your home if you stay in the background.
Avoid ruining the sale
While the opportunity might be there, don’t offer to sell your furniture and accessories to the buyer on the spot. Be calm and relax; your broker knows what to do and when to do it.
Let your broker start the discussion process with the visitor, about the selling price, payment terms and occupancy date. Your agent is a professional who knows how to conduct the negotiations, always to your advantage.
Your broker is at your service at all times. Before making any important decisions relating to the sale of your house, talk to him/her. He/she has a solid experience and is always available.
Even if this is not your first real estate transaction, there are still a few things that can complicate your life. Maybe some of these factors did not cause any problems during the first transaction but you should not neglect anything during the second transaction.
Not only do you have to think about the financing but you have to sell the house that you currently own at the right time in order to avoid the financial burden of two houses, or worse, the dilemma of having nowhere to live while the two transfers of deed are taking place.
In this document, we highlight the five most frequent mistakes owners make when buying a new property. Knowing these mistakes and the strategies to avoid them will help you make informed decisions before putting your house for sale.
Rose Coloured Glasses
Most of us dream of a better lifestyle and to move into a bigger or more luxurious house. Unfortunately there is often a discrepancy between our heart and our bank account. You fall in love with a property that you saw in your neighborhood but it’s already sold or you can’t afford it. Many owners fall into the draining house hunting spiral while there is a much easier way to proceed. For example, see if your agent offers a “Personalized purchase system” or the service “Houses alert” which eliminates the « trial and error » process and helps find the house of your dreams. These types of programs allow you to align your personal criteria with ALL the available houses on the market (as they are listed on the market). Such programs allow the owners to remove their rose coloured glasses and see the real world – and move into the house they’ve been dreaming of at an affordable price.
Ignore necessary improvements
If you want to obtain the best possible price for your house, you have to do some work to improve the perception of the potential buyers. The repairs do not have to be expensive, but if you accept to invest a little, you might leverage your investment by ten times or more when you sell. It is very important to do these improvements before putting your house for sale. If you don’t have enough money, it is possible to get a loan, which you will be able to repay once your house is sold.
Do not sell first
You should plan to sell before buying. Then, you will not find yourself in a weak position at the negotiation table, feeling obliged to accept an offer lower than market value because you are facing purchase delays. If you already sold your house, you can buy your new house with peace of mind. If you receive an interesting offer for your house but did not start looking seriously for another one, you can insert a provision in your promise to purchase to make it conditional to buying another house, thus giving you some additional time. If the market is weak and you find that you can’t sell as fast as you thought, you can rent your house and put it back on the market later, particularly if your house is small which is ideal for a first time owner. In this case however, don’t forget to get information on the tax impact of such a decision.
Go without a pre-approved mortgage
Several owners ignore the considerable benefit of a pre-approved mortgage. It does not cost anything and there are no obligations. It gives you an important advantage because you know your acceptable price range while looking for a house, but more importantly, it confirms to the seller that you have the required funds to buy the property. With such an advantage, your offer will be perceived much more favorably by the owner seller, even if your offer is slightly lower than the one of a non-qualified buyer. Don’t miss such a valuable opportunity.
Lack of coordination between the two transactions
With two major transactions to coordinate and all the people involved (mortgage brokers, notaries, building inspectors, real estate brokers), the risk of miscommunication and oversights increases considerably. Make sure you collaborate closely with your broker to avoid a logistic nightmare.
9 Mistakes To Avoid
…WHEN SELLING YOUR HOUSE
Selling your house is one of the most important transactions of your life.
To conclude a sale quickly, at the best price, and reduce the stress associated to the sale of your house, we suggest avoiding the nine following mistakes:
Choosing a broker for the wrong reasons
It is imperative to trust the real estate broker representing you. You have to have faith in his/her abilities and experience. You need a broker who can easily explain to you the entire listing process, a broker who knows the market really well, has a pool of potential buyers and can give you sound advice to increase your chances of selling. Do not choose the broker who provided the highest evaluation of your property. Choose a broker who provided you with a fair evaluation and who can supply the best performing tools.
The asking price is too high or too low
Setting the asking price should not be taken lightly. Asking too much is as harmful as not asking enough. You have to know that the average buyer will visit 15 to 20 houses before making a decision.
If your property does not compare favourably to other ones in the same price range, potential buyers will not take you seriously. The results: your property will stay on the market longer and buyers will have the false impression that something is wrong with your house.
Choose a real estate broker that offers the highest price
One of the oldest tricks in this business is to hold the promise of a “very good, almost too good” selling price. The contract is signed and then, the price is reduced. Inform yourself on the latest sales of houses similar to yours in the neighbourhood and find out the asking prices of your competitors. It’s not you or the broker that will buy the house but a potential buyer. The selling price will be determined only by the market.
Inadequate preparation of your house for the visits
The owner seller controls the quality of the product and the listing real estate broker controls de quality of the marketing efforts. Each year, North-American companies spend billions of dollars in product presentations and package designs. The look is vital. You can’t relocate your house and it would be very difficult to change the layout. However, you can improve the look:
- Clean like you never cleaned before.
- Pick-up, rearrange, place and repair.
Correcting little imperfections might seem insignificant, but it can produce a very favourable first impression on the buyers who could already imagine themselves living in your house. The decision to buy a house is more emotional than logical, thus, let the buyer visit as he/she pleases and ensure he/she feels comfortable doing so.
Miscommunicating the information about your house to potential buyers
One of the most important reasons to entrust the sale of your house to a real estate broker is to take advantage of his/her expertise in advertising and specialized marketing tools. Make sure your real estate broker is available and advertises in newspapers with the greatest advertising impact.
- Allow the real estate broker to install a sign for sale
- Do not limit the length of time the buyers can take to visit your house
- Advertise your house in local newspapers
- List your house on the Internet, ideally on a personalized web site
Applying undue pressure on the buyers as they visit the house
Nobody likes being pressured, particularly when buying a house. Buyers could wonder why you are such in rush to sell.
If you follow the buyers in their steps while providing all kinds of details that seem important to you, such as a new water heater or a large pantry, you will make the buyer uncomfortable. Let the buyer discover the house on his/her own.
Hide some defects in the house
As the owner seller, make sure you reveal everything. The informed seller will take the lead and inform the buyer of any known defects that could impact the value of the house. Then, the buyer can fill in his/her offer to purchase with confidence and adjust his/her budget accordingly. This will facilitate the process of the inspection of the property.
Not knowing your buyer
Your objective is to control the pace of the negotiation process and, wherever possible, set a time limit. You must find out the buyer’s motivation:
- Does he/she need to move soon?
- Does he/she have the financial means to conclude the sale?
Knowing these factors, the negotiation will be to your advantage because you will know until what point you can insist to get what you want.
Not knowing our financial limits to buy the next house
80% of people sell their house with the objective of buying another one that better fits their needs. When you put your house on the market, establish clearly your objectives with your real estate broker and start the research process.
As it is the case with the sale process, it is important to know where you stand with your purchase project. Deal with your financial obligations with a mortgage broker and reserve your interest rate for the upcoming months; this will increase your control over the negotiation process.
HOW TO AVOID COSTLY ERRORS RELATING TO THE HOUSE WHILE IN A MIDDLE OF A DIVORCE?
With divorce comes the weight of emotional difficulties and important financial decisions that need to be managed properly. One of the most important is the one relating to the house.
In the emotional turmoil and worries concerning the assets that divorce brings, you particularly need clear, precise and objective answers about your real estate wealth. The decision making process will be easier once you are informed of what can happen with the mortgage, taxes and all issues related to the house. The advice of a third party, neutral and well-informed will help you make rational decisions rather than emotional decisions.
The first question you might want to ask yourself is: “Do I want to continue living in the house?” Will your neighborhood be a source of comfort or painful memories? Do you prefer minimizing the disruption or moving to an area which would lead to a new beginning?
Only you can answer these questions, but regardless of the answers, the financial impact must be considered in the decision making process. What can you afford? Does your “new” budget allow you to keep the house? Can you re-open your mortgage to negotiate refinancing? Is it better to sell and buy something else? What can you buy with your new budget?
The goal of this document is to help you ask the right questions in order to make informed decisions that correspond to your new situation.
It is important to understand the financial impact of each of these scenarios.
Sell the house and share the profits
Your main interest in this option is to maximize the selling price of the property. We can help you avoid the errors which owners often make in your situation, and which compromise the expected results. While you are trying to put some order in your situation, make sure you set the net profit you expect to earn. After the expenses related to the sale and after establishing how profits will be divided, what will be left? The division of profits might not be equal because the judgement of divorce might have set a different arrangement or the cash deposit was different or because the laws in effect related to family patrimony would influence the process.
Buy the portion of your spouse
If you have the intention of keeping the house, you will have to determine how you will honour your monthly obligations with one income. If you qualified for the mortgage with two incomes, it might be difficult to refinance with only your income.
Sell your portion to your spouse
If you leave, you can start over with some cash in your pocket. However, you have to know that the existing mortgage loan is still in effect and you will remain, with your spouse, because you both signed for the loan, jointly responsible. This responsibility towards the prior loan can prevent you from obtaining a mortgage if you buy another house even if in fact you are not legally the owner of the first house anymore.
Remain an owner
Some divorced couples will postpone the decision of the sale of the house for a certain time even if one of the spouses continues to live in the house. This situation will give you some breathing room and take away some worries, but requires vigilance given tax rules. Keep in mind that at the date of the sale, your situation relating to your income tax return might have changed.
When you decide to sell
If you and your spouse decide to sell the house, make sure you obtain the services of professionals to get the most from this important asset. Your differences must be put aside and you should get involved in the brokerage contract.
“Team Corber acted as our realtors on behalf of RE/MAX when I left Montreal with my family for the States. They not only acted with diligence and professionalism, they took extra care during our absence to keep an eye on the house during the Winter. They even arranged and managed with service people to repair, maintain, and upgrade the house as required for sale. I am very happy and pleased with their service and I feel I made the right choice when I requested their service. It was a great relief since they took care of our house in our absence until the house was sold. I wish them all the success.”
Los Angeles, California
“Dear Team Corber
Thanking you for your hard work in selling our home and helping us in buying our new home. We never could have managed without you. Your team is the greatest! Thank you again.”
Susan and Jimmy