• Pat Browne

So you’ve decided to sell, what do you have to do to get maximum value for your home?

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We reached out to several real estate agents to get their take on what you need to do to realize maximum value for your home.

Your home is probably the biggest asset you own. In selling, you want to receive the biggest return on your investment. To do that there are some specifics that you should keep in mind.


1. Understand that the house is no longer your home. I know it’s difficult, but once you’ve decided to sell your home, it is now a commodity on the market. You can no longer have a personal attachment to the house. Do what needs to be done to ensure that your property attracts the most potential interest. A good agent will be able to advise on who buyers for your property are and what they are looking for in a home.


2. Clean, declutter, paint, stage. In today’s covid-19 market, virtual marketing is essential. That means your house needs to look great. According to Heide Heemsoth, Midtownrealtor.ca those four things can make a difference of an additional 10-15% on the sale price. In person visits to your home and open houses are extremely limited during the pandemic, so you need to look good on all social media and internet-based listing sites.


3. Staging matters. Listen to your agent. They will advise you on what can stay and what needs to go. Rent a locker or start to declutter – you’re moving anyhow. I’ve seen properties sit in this neighbourhood because they have not been staged properly and seemingly sell overnight when a new agent comes in and stages the place. In many cases after staging, the house sells for a higher price than was originally listed. For a look/feel, most buyers are interested in a modern contemporary look.


4. Use an agent that knows your neighbourhood. There is much debate in the hot market of Toronto about how much influence an agent has – statistics show it makes a huge difference. An agent that knows your neighbourhood may already have a list of potential buyers, they know the community, and in our case, will know that each one of the houses is different from the next. They will know what needs to be done to sell your place for the best possible price. “Hire an agent who has in-depth knowledge of your neighbourhood. Living here as an agent gives me credibility with both buyers and sellers. I know these houses and what it's like to live here,” says Shanta Maraj, Royal LaPage.


5. Obtain professional photos. It sounds simple, but you’d be amazed at how many listings do not have professional photos taken after the house has been cleaned, decluttered, painted and staged. In this day of virtual marketing and tours, the only thing that will draw potential buyers to your house is what it looks like. A professional shoot will take time. This isn’t a quick once-round with an iPhone. This requires lighting, a good camera and a professional photographer with a great eye for angles and lighting.


6. List at the price you want. This is a hot topic. Our neighbourhood is undervalued. Compared to similar townhouses in similar locations, this area is undervalued by $250,000 or more. Agents often suggest you list your property below market value with the idea of soliciting multiple offers. “Traditionally this may work for the first 1 or 2 properties that come on the market at the beginning of the year in our area, after that you run the risk of not getting your desired price with this strategy and having the property sit longer unsold or end up re-listing it again especially if there happens to be others coming on market,” says Mason Chiu, Right at Home Realty Inc. (he also lives in the neighbourhood and helps buyers and sellers here). I’ll add to this as a marketer, if our area is undervalued to begin with, listing the property below market value only ensures that prices will not rise. The last two properties that sold were $1,265,000 and $1,250,000. That should be the starting point. It’s still less than similar properties in the area.


7. Don't forget curb appeal. Looking after the front of the house is almost as important as staging the inside. Make sure the steps are solid and level, railings are painted and not rusting, outside stucco needs to be maintained, add plants to your garden, clean up bins and waste cans. (According to a study done by Michigan State University, a home with landscaping and effort put into curb appeal can increase perceived home value by 5 to 11%. Curb appeal can also sell a home faster.)


8. Do not list your property if another is already on the market - wait. On average from the date you engage an agent, to the date the house sells is about 2 weeks. When multiple units are on the market, you’ve just given the buyer choice. And choice means competition and lower prices. Again, listen to your agent, they’ll know if someone else is about to list a property.

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