How to Sell a House in Calgary and What should I do before selling a house?

A Guide for all Home Sellers in Calgary

You are ready to make a change and move from your current house. You may be looking to move up to a larger space or even making the transition down and right-sizing your life. Either way, here are the 9 steps to help you learn how to sell a house in Calgary.

It may have been a while since you last sold a home, and you want to get caught up on the best ways to position you and your home in the current market. We're glad to say; you have come to the right place!

9 steps to selling a house:

Here we go... if at any point you have questions, reach out to us at info@chamberlaingroup.ca or give us a call at 587-879-4145.

Sellers Classes

Want to learn these steps in person?

Join us at our next Sellers class as we walk you through the steps of how to sell your home. Whether it's your first time selling a home or if you are on your 5th home, there is something to learn as the market and the selling process is always changing.

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 1. The 3 Signs that Scream, "I'm Ready to Move!"

Here are three scenarios that scream, "I'm Ready to Move!":

  1. You find yourself sleeping on the couch more nights than not because there are too many little humans climbing into your bed at night, and there's nowhere else to live!
  2. You find that you are not able to concentrate on your work during the day because of the people in the condo above you have decided to open a full functioning daycare and your condo board won't answer your calls. 
  3. You went back home to visit and decided to go to the local fair. Lucky you, you won the grand prize goat but have nowhere to keep it.

You may have different stories than these, but regardless, if you feel like it's time, then read on!

2. The Insider Questions to ask when Interviewing Real Estate Agents

When you are getting ready to sell your house, one of the things that can seem anxious is trying to find a good fit with a real estate agent and hear all their sales pitches. As overwhelming as that can be, we want to equip you with some great questions to help guide your conversation and bring clarity to sorting through who will be the right fit for you and who will do the best at selling your home.

  1. What is your ratio of homes you have listed to what has sold?
    1. Knowing this statistic is important to show that they can sell the homes they list. Any agent can list any home at any price, but not everyone can make sure that they sell! The Calgary average in Q1-Q3 2019 was 49.5% of all the listed homes sold.
  2. Ask them to show you their pricing strategy for your home.
    1. What you want to look for here is a lot of data. If the agent you are interviewing is only bringing a few past sales and comparing your home directly to those without looking at a lot more data, you are doing yourself a disservice. The best practice is to have data pulled for hundreds of homes that are active, sold or expired, and use that data to help know where your home should sell and what to choose for comparable sales. If they are using a few past transactions, that is not going to be the best pricing strategy. And even worse, if they are focused on sales solely on your street, then they could be missing out on incredible comparables from another street. LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR PRICING STRATEGY HERE.
  3. Lastly, ask the agent how they will know how the market is responding to your price and home.
    1. Why this is important is sometimes you need to adjust your strategy, price or positioning on the fly, and your agent needs to know what indicators to look for to maximize your market value in the current market you are selling in.

And if you were wondering, here is how Chamberlain Real Estate Group Agents stack up:

  1. Between Jan-Aug 2019, 73.4% of the homes we listed sold. Compared to the whole City of Calgary between Q1-Q3 2019 was 49.5% of the homes listed sold.
  2. We use a system that pulls hundreds of properties from our MLS system and organizes them, so we can see truly what homes are comparable and what are not. It gives us a great visual or where your home is in the current market.
  3. We have a formula that we have used since 2006/07 that gives us direction on where we need to go with our strategy. We need to be on the market for about 10-30 days, depending on the type of market we are in, and we can then see how the market is responding to your home.

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3. Is Home Staging Worth it?

calgary-home-stagingThat is like asking, would you like to sell your home or not. Let me explain. You may have heard before how we have two sides of our brain, a right and left. The right side is all about the creative and emotion, and the left is analytical numbers and facts.  When you are selling your home, you are typically working from the left half of your brain. You ask questions and are concerned about, how much money will my home sell for, what do I need to do to get ready to sell, how many agents do I need to interview, how am I going to keep this place tidy for showings and still live in it... am I right?

The buyer, on the other hand, is working from the right side of their brain. They are falling in love and want to be wooed like a teenager on a first date! They are typically concerned about where their furniture will go, what amenities are close by, will this home make them feel the way they want to feel if they bought it! 

How in the world are you supposed to analytically plan for the way a buyer wants to feel? You can't. You need to speak their language, which is why you need to bring the emotions into your world and create your space so that you give the buyers permission to fall in love with your home. 

INSIDER TIP: You don't need to replace all your own furniture with new stuff from a staging company. Sometimes the best way to get your home ready is to have a staging consultation, and allow that professional to help you re-arrange your home in a way that will have the same effect and a fraction of the cost.

4. Should you Buy or Sell a Home First

Knowing whether to buy first or sell first is a tough question to answer as it depends on a couple of things. 

  • First, what is your risk tolerance?
    • Would you rather know where you are moving to, or would you rather know what your shopping budget is based on what your current home sold for? It's hard to have both.
  • Secondly, are you able to hold two homes if one of them doesn't sell?

The home you are thinking of buying, what type of market is it in? Will homes go faster off the market for what you are buying or what you are selling? 

If you are interested, click below to dive into our Complete Buyers Guide!

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5. The Un-Sexy Parts of Selling a House

I know you jumped ahead to this one because it sounds so exciting! However, it is mission-critical to get some of these things lined up for you to have a smooth home selling process.

  1. Real Property Reports - As a homeowner who owns the land, you will need to have this at the time of the sale. This is the survey document that shows the outline of your home, your yard, where your fence is and any utilities in the ground around your home. If you have an existing one, get that updated by the same survey company, and if you can not find yours, then you will need to order a new one. 
  2. Condominium Documents - As a Calgary condo owner, you will be responsible for providing the buyer with all the current and up to date condo documents. If you are one of the lucky ones, this literally could be hundreds of pages. You will need to order these from your condo management company if you don't have a complete package.
  3. Pay Out Penalties - If you have a mortgage, please, please, please call your mortgage company and ask what your payout penalty is. Even if you plan on upgrading and porting over your mortgage to your new home, this is important to know and will help you when it comes time to understand what you can sell for and what your expenses are.

As the old Chinese proverb says, "When was the best time to plant a tree? 20 Years Ago", it is imperative that you proactively do these things and be prepared before listing your home. If any of these things are delayed or don't happen when they need to, they could cause you delays on conditions, closings or even worse kill your deal. And that isn't a good thing! 

6. Your Listing is Live on the Market, Now What?

Exciting! You have your home on the market, and you are ready to sell this thing. But wait, you need buyers to see your home first to do that. Here are some quick tips that will help you stay sain during the "showing your home" phase of selling.

  1. If you have a family with children, set a new level of cleanliness and expectations with the family. We have seen families create cleaning charts and attach a reward like going out for ice cream once the home sells and we all did our cleaning jobs. Who doesn't love some delicious local ice cream!

    TIP: Take your kid's toys, pack 90% of them up and only have a single bin that can hide away easily that they can play with. This will make cleaning up last minute easy and something they could do on their own.
  2. Pack half of your clothes up and give your closet some breathing space. Guaranteed, this will make your closet look 10x bigger. You'll thank us later!
  3. Buy new white towels for the bathrooms and put these out before showings. Don't use them until you get into your new home cause then these look fresh and hotel-like for every buyer looking at your home. You can go get the cheapest ones from Wal-Mart even. It's all the white, 'bout the white!
  4. Blinds. Windows. Lights. Here's a rule of thumb. All lights on always. Blinds open if it's sunny and daytime, however in the evening you can choose to close some of them too. If you have a front window that faces the street when they drive up, always leave that blind open as it could help excite the buyer about the home they are going to look at and increase that emotional level for your home.

7. You Got an Offer... and It's Not What You Expected

congrats-on-your-offerYou got the call. There is an offer that has come in and being sent to you! This is cause for celebration. But wait, when you are selling your home, what you want most is to sell it. But one of the hardest things is getting an offer that is lower than what you were expecting. Not every market in Calgary is hot right now. However, some communities are seeing multiple offers on a home, but it's not super common. When we are in a buyers market like we are mainly in now, buyers are looking for deals and truth be told, if you are buying as well, you too will be looking for a deal on whatever you purchase.

How do you deal with a low offer? You negotiate. Very rarely is the initial offer price, terms and conditions sent your way are set in stone, and the buyer will not budge. Having a skilled agent in your corner who knows when to do certain things at the right time is imperative to your selling success. Try to find out what the buyer wants and see if that is something you can give them. For example, the buyer may wish for a specific possession date and is willing to move higher on the price a little, so it may be worth to do your best to work with that.

INSIDER TIP: You may have heard before that 'Your first offer is typically your best offer.' In our experience, 80% of the time this is the case. Why? Typically if that offer comes in within the first 15 days of being on the market that buyer has been looking for a while and your home is what they are interested in. Ultimately whatever the sale price is for your home, make sure it's what works for you and is the most the current market is willing to give you.

8. What a Seller Needs to do When Their Home is Conditional

You have negotiated the best price, excellent possession date, and all the terms and conditions are good to go. Now what?

Here are a few tips to help you through this conditional phase of selling your home. Remember, it may feel like you've sold your home, and you're almost there, but in reality, there are a ton of things that need to happen still to button up this offer and make your home sold.

  1. Most likely, you will have inspections of some sort in the offer. If you have a home inspection, it is best to have your home vacant for this time. The time of the inspection is typically at a time the inspector can book it, which may not be the best for you. It's best to give the buyer, the agent and the inspector space to explore and make sure they are happy with the home. The inspector is there to find all the things wrong. Don't be surprised if you get a list of items from the buyer, and they are wanting to negotiate on these.
  2. If you own a condo, you will want to collect all the condominium documents from your condo management company. More and more, we are seeing the management companies hosting the documents online where you pay a fee and download them, which is quicker and cheaper for you. 
  3. Have patience. During this time, the buyer is doing all their due diligence and working their financing and various inspections. It could take right up till the last hour to have it all waived and firm up the sale of your home, but rest assured they are doing the best they can. 

9. Waiting for Moving Day - Top 5 Tips For a Successful Handover

moving-dayCongrats! You have sold your home, and now you are just waiting for possession day! Here are 5 tips to help you make this transition the best it can be.

  1. Make sure you schedule a time to meet with your lawyer at the latest one week before your possession date for the signing of papers. During this time, you will be signing title transfer documents, setting up where the excess funds will go, and if you are purchasing a home too, you could sign the papers for your next home also. 
  2. Pack! Ideally, plan your move out day a couple of days before the actual possession day. This way, it gives you a chance to have the home cleaned after you are out of it, and if the buyers have a term of them doing a walk through before keys are released, they can do it at that time.
  3. It's a great practice to leave all your extra keys, garage door openers, manuals and anything else that is of importance on the counter. One thing we provide all our sellers with is a moving package envelope where we write on the front all the details from mailbox numbers, number of extra keys to any further instructions for the new buyers.
  4. Slow down, talk and take selfies. One thing we did before leaving for the last time as a family was walk through our empty house and talk about the memories we had there and took lots of selfies. It's great to look back at those photos now and remember the conversations had.

That's it. We hope that this guide has been helpful to you, and it has given you some great insight, questions to ask and thoughts to think about as you enter into the world of selling a home.

Any questions reach out to us at info@chamberlaingroup.ca or call us at 403-879-4145

 

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