Home Seller FAQ's
Calgary Home Seller FAQ that we usually get asked most often. If you need any clarification or have a question that is not on the list simply give us a call at 403 803-5151, we would be glad to get you the information.
1) What is the best way to price my home for sale in Calgary? The main objective is determining how much your property is actually worth on the market. Have an "experienced" REALTOR® prepare a Comparative Market Analysis Report to research recent sale prices of similar properties in the neighbourhood. Choose a REALTOR® who has lived through all market trends and conditions. Find someone with experience or someone that has a mentor with that experience to guide them.
2) What happens at closing? Within 7 days prior to closing (possession date), you will sit down with your lawyer to finalize the transaction and work out the details for the transfer to the new owners. Your existing mortgage will be paid out on possession date, tax adjustments will be made and the lawyer will discuss the breakdown of funds and their bill with you. A final walk-through of the property will be arranged through the REALTOR® for the new buyer, commonly done within 24 hours of the possession date. You will leave all your keys, appliance manuals, garage door openers etc. on the kitchen counter for the new owners. Ask your REALTOR® about the timing and any other instructions you will need to know about the closing day.
3) How do I prepare my house for sale? First, get psychologically prepared. Detach yourself emotionally from your home and start viewing it as a commodity you want to sell. This is difficult for most sellers whose identities are often reflected in their homes. However, it’s important to be completely candid with yourself about how your home should look when it goes on the market. Start looking at your home as a home buyer. Property appearance and condition play a larger role in the home sale process today than a decade ago. Today’s home buyers are usually internet savvy, choosy and short of time. They’ll pay a premium for homes they can move right into. The probable selling price for your home will depend on various factors, including location, how many buyers are looking for homes like yours, how many other homes like yours are currently on the market, and the condition of your home relative to your competition. You can’t control the supply and demand factors affecting the market, but you can control how your home looks when it hits the market.
4) What is a home inspection? A home inspection is an examination of the structure and systems: heating and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical, roof, attic, insulation, walls, floors, ceilings, windows, doors, foundation, and basement as well as other items. A buyer will usually place a Home Inspection Condition on the Offer to Purchase. The Buyer will hire a home inspector at their expense, and the inspection usually takes place after they have received finance approval. A home inspection can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours depending on the size of the home, the age of the home and complexity of heating and water systems, hot tubs etc. If the buyer is satisfied with the outcome the Home Inspection Condition will be removed. If a defect in the home is encountered you can choose to do 1 of 3 things, remedy the defect at your cost, share in the cost or do nothing. If you choose to do nothing you may lose the buyer depending on the severity of the defect. If you choose to share in the cost a common approach is a downward adjustment in the selling price. These items would be negotiated after the results of the home inspection is completed.
5) Should I make repairs before selling my home? After years of living in a home, it’s easy to fall into a habit of overlooking home maintenance chores. If there’s no urgency, many homeowners procrastinate. Often problems don’t get fixed until a major disaster occurs, like a roof leak in the middle of a major storm. Deferred home maintenance can become a problem when you decide to sell since most home buyers have home inspections and these items will be written up in the report. Most buyers want to buy homes they can move right into without having to make a lot of repairs. Sellers need to decide before they put their home on the market whether to fix deferred repairs or leave the work for a future buyer to do. Usually, sellers who have the time, money and inclination will do better on the sale of their home if they fix problems before they list their home for sale. A home that is in move-in condition is one that appeals to a broad audience of prospective home buyers First-time home buyers and buyers with busy lifestyles, often won’t consider buying a home that needs a lot of work. They haven’t the time or experience to deal with the problems.
6) What is curb appeal? “Curb appeal” is the common real estate term for everything prospective buyers can see from the street that might make them want to turn in and take a look. Improving curb appeal is critical to generating traffic. While it does take time, it needn’t be expensive, provided you keep two keywords in mind: neat and neutral. Neatness sells. New paint, an immaculate lawn, picture-perfect shrubbery, a newly sealed driveway, potted plants at the front door, a fresh new doormat, new house number, new mailbox, clean the outdoor lights at the door and on the garage – put them all together, and drive-by shoppers will probably want to see the rest of the house. Typically outside appearance goes through the rest of the property. Hand in hand with neatness is neutrality. If you’re going to repaint, stick to light, neutral colours, the exception being your front door. Front doors of a different colour can really be appealing and quick to paint. Keep the yard free of gardening tools and kids’ toys. Remember, when a family looks at a house, they’re trying to paint a picture of what it would be like as their home. You want to give them as clean a canvas as possible.
7) What should I do to make my house show better? First, make your house look as clean and spacious as possible. Remember that people will probably look behind your doors – closet and storage room as well as cabinets, cupboards, and closets in bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen. So get rid of all the clutter; have that garage sale, give stuff away or put some larger items in a storage unit temporarily. After you’ve cleaned, try to correct any cosmetic flaws you’ve noticed. Paint rooms that need it, re-grout tile walls and floors, remove, clean or replace any worn-out carpets if you can. Replace or repair dripping faucets, change outdated light fixtures, and modernize the handles and knobs on your kitchen drawers and cabinets. Finally, as with the outside of your house, try to make it easy for prospective buyers to imagine your house as their home. Clear as much from your walls, shelves, and countertops as you can. Give your prospective buyers plenty of room to dream. Consult your Real Estate Professional for advice of the important or most necessary things to do for your home.
8) Should I make any major home improvements before selling my home? Certain home improvements that are useful to almost everyone have been proven to add value and/or speed the sale of houses. These could include adding central air conditioning to the heating system, building or repairing a deck or patio, kitchen remodelling (updating colours on cabinets, hardware, countertops appliances, panels, etc.), and new floor and/or wall coverings, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, professional basement development can add value. Improvements that return less than what they cost are generally items that appeal to personal tastes, like adding fireplaces, wet bars, and swimming pools, or converting the garage into an extra room. Ask yourself would you have still make the improvements or spent the money if you knew you were moving. If you say no, then the improvements were most likely for your enjoyment of the home and may not increase its value in the eyes of the Home Buyer. The challenge that comes with any home improvement designed to help sell your house is recouping your investment. There’s always the risk of over-improving your house – that is, putting more money into it than neighbourhood prices will support. If you are planning any improvements prior to listing your home, consult your Real Estate Professional for where you will get the most return on your investment.
9) Should I have an open house? This was a popular approach prior to virtual tours, interactive floor plans, YouTube video and extensive online marketing. Typically you will get tire kickers and nosy neighbours, but sometimes you will also get an interested buyer for your home. Keep in mind there is the possibility of theft of items, most commonly are any prescription drugs, money and jewellery. We have even heard of designer jeans being taken. We leave this as an option for our sellers to decide within the services we provide. If you have a professional virtual tour and photos as well as a YouTube video and website exposure for your home, open houses should not be necessary. Most listings on the market are sold by another Real Estate Professional with a Buyer and they have access to all the information on the MLS® System. If you choose to include open houses with the marketing of your home be sure to get information from your Real Estate Professional regarding how to prepare your home and what items you should have well hidden, locked away or take with you during the open house.