How to Sell Your House on the Market
is a free resource to help educate members of the public about the Victoria, BC Real Estate market. While our advice is up to date, we also encourage all visitors to contact a licensed real estate professional to help them with any transactions. This website is purely for information purposes, however, it is our hope it provides you with the information you need to buy or sell your next home in te Southern Vancouver Island housing market.
I WISH TO SELL MY HOUSE
While it is completely possible to sell real estate yourself, it is generally considered best to use a realtor. Working with a licensed real estate professional would normally expose your home to a far vaster market. In a Seller's market (which we are in as of 2021), this usually means more interest and a better price can be secured.
WHAT STEPS ARE FIRST
Most successful sales start by picking a good realtor to work with. A realtor can meet with you to discover your particular needs and desires, then move the real estate transaction forward from there. Generally, there are some other steps that will need to be addressed. For example, if your house has a decommissioned heating oil tank, you will likely need to remove it prior to listing your home for sale.
Prior to listing your house for sale, you also might want to "de-clutter" it. Sorting through all possessions and having a garage sale is not only going to help you present your house in a more favourable light (less content is generally better), but you can also save yourself time and stress dealing with packing and moving those items to your new home.
If there are any half completed renovation projects or cosmetic damages to your house, fixing these up can greatly increase the likelihood of attracting a higher offer price. Landscaping is also not to be ignored. Any pile of old building materials, discarded items or junk should be dealt with. A good realtor will advise you on which items to prioritize. Even mowing the lawn prior to an open house can sway buyers.
SHOULD I TAKE MY OWN PHOTOS?
While you certainly can, there are many subtle things a good house photographer will be able to accomplish that you may miss. For starters, a good wide angle lens is often used to highlight the rooms and make them appear more spacious. Lights should all be on and window coverings opened when photos are taken. Even small items like ensuring laundry piles are hidden and beds are made can make a difference. The general rule is that potential buyers are also buying a dream of "less work". A cluttered house can convey the wrong message ("there is a lot of work to do here") which puts off prospective buyers.
WHAT CAN A REALTOR DO?
By working with a realtor to sell your home, you will have a dedicated professional working for your best interests. A realtor (also called a "real estate agent"), will generally be able to advise you of the most current market conditions and provide several suggestions to help sell your house. Many real estate professionals would generally counsel any prospective seller that the risks of trying to sell you real estate in a "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO) will likely outweigh the benefits of working with a realtor.
One of the most critical considerations is that you would be responsible for listing and marketing your house if you choose not to work with a realtor. A realtor, on the other hand, will arrange for professional photographs, help you "stage" your home (a term used to describe presenting your house in the most favourable manner to prospective buyers) and distribute your listing to the market. Realtors will also be on hand to show your house to buyers and will generally work hard to market it and make the sale. The reason for this is that they get paid by commission so securing the highest price for you in as quick a time as possible is also in their best interests.
When you have offers to purchase your house, your realtor will be the primary conduit for buyers to negotiate their purchase offers. An experienced realtor will generally be able to navigate the sales conditions present in formal offers to purchase your home. Their experience will be beneficial in helping you understand the differences between multiple offers and heklp advise you on the best path to take based on your unique requirements.
I FEEL I CAN SELL MY OWN HOME. WHY NOT?
If you choose to be your own agent, you will also hear direct comments and candid statements from buyers. Hearing a consistent set of negative comments from multiple buyers may lead you to lower your expectations. This in itself could mitigate any money saved in terms of paying a realtor's commission. A real estage agent will be a buffer between those comments and yourself. In the event the comments are valid, a good realtor can also help validate the data for you rather than leaving you to making decisions in a void of market knowledge.
AGENTS HAVE LARGE SALES NETWORK
A good agent will have a large network of potential buyers as well as existing marketing techniques. These will expose your home to a far greater audience. An agent will also know of trends (like baby boomers moving from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to the warmer climate of Victoria, BC) and know how to market your house to potential buyers in markets you might not have thought of, spinning the ads to directly appeal to those potential buyers.
AGENTS HAVE SEEN IT ALL
Experienced Real Estate professionals are also quickly able to triage potential buyers based on their level of seriousness and other factors like thier ability to get financing. A good realtor will also know what to look for in terms of subjects on an offer (conditions that allow the buyer to walk away from a deal if specific results are not achieved).
Dan Weiss, a local realtor with over 20 years experience with Coldwell Banker regularly advises his clients on multiple sales factors. "When a house has multiple offers, each with conditions or subjects on the purchase offer, I can often quickly advise my seller clients which may be most problematic based on a multitude of factors including the condition of the house and the current market climate." Dan also stated that he can often differentiate between various types of visitors during open houses and easily identify curious neighbours vs. serious purchasers based on asking on a few quick questions. Not being able to distinguish the differences may results in spending too much time focusing on answering questions for the least likely buyers vs. focusing on the potential buyers who have the best odds of purchasing your house.
Dan also generally advises that during open houses, the home owner shouldnot be present. This is a tactic shared by most realtors to avoid situations whereby the home owner may accidentially divulge facts that place them in a less advantaged position during negotiations.
HOW TO PICK A REALTOR
Selecting the best realtor to sell your house in the Victoria BC market is a complex question. Here are some considerations.
Type of Property
Some realtors focus on specific types of properties, which may make them best suited to sell your specific properties. Some agents advertise themselves as "condo specialists" while others focus on single family detached dwellings or even investment grade real estate. Others may specialize in acreages or larger luxury homes. When you decide to sell your house, selecting a realtor who specializes in the type of property you are selling might be a factor to consider.
Various realtors may have specialized knowledge and a focus on one of the multiple Capital Regional District (CRD) municipalities or even specific neighbourhoods within those municipalities. A realtor who focuses their listing on the rural properties in areas such as North Saanich or Metchosin will know the specific attributes that may make your property more desirable to the average buyer in that area. As an example, having municipal water or even a gas connection in Metchosin may be a marketing feature that buyers in that area consider desirable while a realtor focused on condos in downtown Victoria might lack this specific knowledge. The local knowledge can encompass all sorts of things like proximity to the best schools, public transportation, knowledge of future commercial development or even traffic patterns.
No matter what type of realtor you decide to work work to sell your house into the Victoria area market, being able to get along with your realtor and "click" is one of the most important aspects. The right chemistry between you and your realtor will go a long way towards achieving the best results.
Referrals and Recommendations
When seeking to sell your home, finding a realtor that is highly recommended by past clients can be a good indication of future success. For example, someone who is ranked at one of five stars by their last 50 clients is probably not a good bet.
Past Sales Effectiveness
A realtor who has a track record of selling all homes listed with them in less than a month is potentially a good fit and strong consideration. This will depends on your own goals and desires. If you are selling one home to buy another, this alone may be the most critical consideration when picking a real estate agent.
WHERE DO I LOOK FOR THE RIGHT REALTOR?
There are several services that can provide recommendations on realtors. The best place to start can be by asking your neighbours for recommendations. Another things to consider is the realtors who are alreayd active in your area. Their names can be found on real estate signs in your neighbourhood.
I'M NOT CONVINCED AND WANT TO SELL MY HOUSE WITHOUT A REALTOR
If you still wish to pursue this route, we recommend you start by getting a legal professional involved. While costly, it is necessary to understand the concepts involved with real estate transactions under current British Columbia law. These include:
- What is the best possible price?
- How do I get buyers interested?
- What facts am I legally compelled to disclose?
- What paperwork is required?
- Will the contract be legal and binding?
- What elements need to be in the purchase/sale contract?
- Once sold, how is ownership transferred?
- During the transfer process, how is the money held (in escrow/trust)?
- What about my existing mortgage?
- What if the title is not clean?
- I have prepaid my property taxes, do I get reimbursed?
- How do I make sure the buyer is able to pay for the house?
- What contract conditions (subjects) are acceptable and how do they get released?
- How can I be sure I will get my money?
- What if I need the sales proceeds to buy another property?
- How do I protect myself from money laundering during a sale?
If you have any questions, please use the contact link in the menu to reach us.