10 Steps to Take When Selling Your Home in a Hot Market: From the Experienced Eyes of a Mortgage Agent

Orange background with chalkboard house and for sale building cubesGuest Blog by Linette Moore

When the market is hot, often people consider selling and begin imagining the ways that they can get into bidding wars. We mortgage agents see it all: houses to be quickly sold for cash going for far less than they should have; homes selling far above market because the owners did extensive prep; and everything in between.  In this blog, I want to share with you some of the best tips I have seen and used when selling a home. With these 10 tips followed, it is possible to enjoy the experience and stay positive.

1. The first thing to think of is: Where you will move? 

Even before you fall in love with all the money you will get.  Will you buy another home, or maybe you have other plans?  You may choose to rent perhaps.  Either way, no matter where you plan to go, you must look into the pricing of potential properties and costs of where you would like to live. Is there a timing factor that will impact when you sell your home?

2. Determine how much you owe.

If you currently have a mortgage that you will be paying off with the sale proceeds, you will need to contact your lender to find out exactly how much you owe.  Hint:  It is never the amount of ‘principal outstanding’ that you see on your statement. 

There are discharge fees and potential penalties as well. 

Consider these fees when making the final decision to put your house on the market.  There have been many scenarios where the penalties leave the seller owing money to their lender on the closing date.  Most people don’t want to be in that position, and not many people know even to ask. 

It’s too important not to repeat – if you have a mortgage to be paid out, call your mortgage broker or speak with your lender to find out the amount of money you owe them if you were to close in 30, 60, 90 days.

3.  Get pre-approved for your next mortgage.

Then, talk to your mortgage broker to get a pre-approval for your next property if you intend to buy again. 

Speaking with a mortgage broker is more important than it sounds.  With so many bids submitted without conditions, also know as ‘going in firm,’ you open yourself to risk.  So, be sure to do your homework on what is involved in getting a mortgage (if you will need one) before you and your realtor put in an offer on a ‘new to you’ property.

4. Prepare for buyers’ questions.

If you have done renovations, be sure to have the information about the upgrades and permits handy. 

A savvy buyer will ask for receipts and documentation to prove work was done correctly and according to the provincial and municipal building codes.

Also, find out if warranties can transfer to the new owner and have that information available.  These steps could help you get top dollar for your house.

5. Protect Yourself from some Buyer Tactics.

You may wish to have a home inspection conducted before you list the house.  This way, if there is a ‘condition on the home inspection,’ then you don’t have any surprises.  It can be beneficial in negotiations and avert the buyer agent’s tendency to use their reports to reduce the selling price.

6.  Set your expectations.

Have your realtor give you a market assessment of what your house could sell for in today’s market.  They are licensed to provide you with valuation information that is better than if you went onto a site like realtor.ca and compared your house to others sold recently.  Every home has its unique selling features that affect the amount.

7.  Pretty up your space.

Before the house is even listed, prepare for others to envision the space as their own.  It is so easy to love the way we have decorated, painted, and accessorized. Still, many cases show the benefits of making sure you declutter and pack away all the personal photos and kindergarten paintings on the fridge and travel souvenirs.

You will get the best results if you or your realtor hires a professional home stager.  Many reports and instances show staged houses listed and sold at a higher selling price.  Where it may seem like it’s an expense you can cut corners on, it will cost you in the long run.

8.  Present. Present.

Another corner not to cut is the photographer!  Hire a photographer experienced in taking MLS-listing pictures.  They will take, edit and provide at least 25 images depending on the package you choose. 

Great photos will give a strong first impression and create excitement to the potential buyer before seeing the house ‘in real life.’  Often realtors include this cost as part of their service offering. 

These photographers take great still pictures and often create a montage where you get the images in video format with background music and on-screen text.  Talk about increasing interest and grabbing the attention of buyers.

With the recent pandemic, people are more cautious about visiting homes.  Let’s face it, it’s still your home, and you would rather have only the most interested buyers book a showing.  Virtual Tours!  Yes, check off that feature, so your photographer is prepared to bring their special equipment to accommodate this request while they are on site.

9.  Prepare for the marathon.

So, you’ve done everything above, and you’ve received an offer.  Congratulations!  Now what?!

Well, you will need a lawyer.  This lawyer will represent you in the legal process of the sale.  Property law can be vague and complex.  They handle the communication with the buyer’s lawyer and ensure the proper transfer of ownership is complete: for example, your receipt of money and getting keys to the new owners.

All this can typically take a minimum of 30 days, usually 60 to 90 days by the time you factor in the tasks involved in preparing the house for official listing on the MLS system.

T-up the professionals on your team to help make this process as smooth and fast as possible.  If you don’t know a mortgage broker/agent, a realtor, lawyer, photographer, or home inspector, ask for referrals.  Usually, mortgage brokers/agents are closely associated with all these services, so you could be well connected once you book your agent.

10. Book your movers

Get quotes from movers and consider having them pack and unpack. This will make remove a lot of pressure from you during times of signing papers for mortgages, transfer of deeds, etc. It will also give you more time to transfer kids from school-to-school, cancel gym memberships and open new ones, and join different chapters of organizations in your new neighbourhood.   

Perhaps most of all, be prepared, stay positive and keep an open mind.  You will learn something new with every house you buy and sell throughout your lifetime.  These are exciting times!

About the author:

Picture of Linette Moore, a woman in her late 40s, standing in a wooded area with text across the top of the picture that says Canada's Leading Mortgage Company and text on the bottom that says Dominion Lending Centres

Linette Moore loves everything about buying, selling and renovating a home and maximizing peoples’ net worth.  As a licensed Ontario mortgage agent, she prides herself on finding the best mortgage products and interest rates for her clients’ unique needs.  And best of all, as an agent with Canada’s largest mortgage company, Dominion Lending Centres, she is empowered to work for her clients, not the banks.   Watch for her next blogs to discover how mortgages, financing, refinancing and rehoming can work for you.

Linette Moore Mortgage Agent M20002814, Dominion Lending Centers Forest City Funding 10671.

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