Frequently Asked Questions
For Home Sellers
For most people, selling a home is a rare event, maybe every 5-10 years or more. There are hundreds of little details and decisions that go into listing a home, and its in your best interest to have a good understanding of what we do, why we do it, and what you can expect throughout the process.
I’m ready to sell my home and I need an agent. What should I do first?
The first step is to assess your own personal goals for the sale of your home. Just like in any industry, there’s a wide range of service and price options, and it’s important to consider the pro’s an con’s of each option and clarify for yourself what you priorities are. Only then can you decide what type of Real Estate Professional will best meet your needs.
I want a high quality service for a fair price, can you help me?
This is what many home sellers want and it’s completely reasonable. Most home sellers make this request because of the endless stories of sellers paying way too much to a realtor who did almost nothing for the sale. That is not value for the money and you feel ripped off. Once you identify your goals, and look at our service plans, you will see that we inject the most possible service into any fee structure you choose. You will get incredible of value for the money.
What is your business position?
The Village Guru is about creating value through providing high-level service for fair prices. We target clients who are looking to create a collaborative relationship with us, so that we all work together to prepare and market the home to achieve the highest possible sales price. We strive to make you that extra 1-2%, or more, than the average sales price of comparable homes on the market. Now that is an excellent sales experience.
Every agent seems to say the same things; how can I tell any real difference?
Since I’m in the industry, I can see glaring differences, so I advise you to take your time and do your research. Here’s an easy first step: check out the agent’s website. In this day and age, there is no excuse for not having one. What information do they share with you to help you be informed? A website is an excellent indication of they way the agent thinks, how they will communicate with you, and how they will market your property. Later I will discuss points for when you meet with agents in person, but for now, the website will tell you enough to start.
What makes you different?
I am different because I put service and client experience first. Most agents focus on the fact that they sell so many homes, or that they can guarantee your home will sell. To me, that’s an empty promise if you don’t have proof to back it up. How does the agent make this sale happen successfully with happy clients? If you look through my website, I openly show you our past work – our Portfolio of Listings. The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour, so you can be confident in the work we do. I show you my sales system that can be replicated perfectly time and time again, while also customizing the process to each client. It ensures that nothing falls between the cracks, and you get a seamless and successful experience. I don’t talk about how good I am, I show you why I’m that good. Just to say “I sell a lot of homes around here” shouldn’t be an acceptable answer to you.
I don’t see your signs around everywhere, do you do much business?
Since I’ve niched The Village Guru into a client-service model, my business works best to a maximum of 40-50 clients (buyer and seller) per year. I’ve seen and I know that service starts to suffer when the volume goes higher than this. A business model that is centred on the lowest possible fee requires a high-volume of listings to keep the business afloat. As the number of listings goes up, time available to each client goes down, and this invariably results in less personal communication and service. The high volume model also requires heavy advertising to keep attracting listings, but a billboard has NO relationship to quality of service you receive, or even more important, getting an excellent sales price on your home.
Why aren’t you with one of the big brokers? Why Better Homes & Gardens?
Many of the large brokerages charge agents very low fees, and therefore need to have hundreds of agents to stay viable, and their service level suffers. With Better Homes & Gardens Signature Service Real Estate, they provide quality support that is rare indeed. My Broker is fully available to his agents whenever needed, so if there are unique or complicated situations, agents never have to “guess” on your legally binding sale. Our receptionists are top notch and handle bookings, showings and records with professionalism and ease. It’s not until your listing is active that you will appreciate a quality brokerage.
How long have you been a Real Estate Broker?
I started my business in 2007. This is my full-time enterprise, which might sound like an odd thing to point out, but very critical. There are over 45,000 agents in the GTA, most of whom do less that 5 deals per year. You cannot get top results from an agent who does this part-time, and has other obligations. Some might be just starting out and have real potential, but 99% of them have only one foot in the door and you will be hard-pressed to find the expertise, experience and service you require. In 2015 I went back to obtain my Broker’s licence, which is a higher level of knowledge and expertise than a sales agent.
What do You Charge for Listing a Home?
I have created a system with 3 pricing structures to ensure that no matter your budget and goals, you get a high level of service. Beware of part time agents who can drop their fees below costs to get your listing. You don’t want to pay the most but I guarantee you don’t want to pay the least either. You do get what you pay for. I have 3 very reasonable fee structures that you can check out here.
Aren’t you afraid you won’t be the lowest cost?
Not at all. This is a great filtering system for me as well, as my target client is not the person who wants the lowest price above all else. I am happy to provide different service options based on your budget, but ultimately I am looking for clients who appreciate that my expertise and services will produce better results for them.
How do real estate commissions work?
Every agent is allowed to set their own commission rates. I’ve heard of everything from 6% to 1% …….and everything in between. Should you do your due diligence to ensure you don’t get overcharged for little to no service? Absolutely YES. But once you’ve done this, the old addage is true; you do get what you pay for. There is a real trade off between the fee, the time spent with you, the money spent on your listing, and the quality of service you receive. If an agent is promising lots of service for the lowest price, and it seems too good to be true, it is. It is my goal that my pricing pages give clarity and transparency to what services you can reasonably expect for what fee.
Does your fee include the fee to the buying agent?
Although there’s no law requiring you to pay a buyer agent, to me, it’s essential. 95% of buyers have hired a buyer agent to represent them and find them a home. It’s not smart marketing to only appeal the the 5% of unrepresented buyers out there. Due to intense competition, listing agent commissions have fallen dramatically, and with technology, the argument can be made that it’s easier to sell a house now than 20 years ago. But for a buyer agent, it’s not at all easier, especially in the GTA. The process never changes with a buyer, its about being able to get to know the buyer, figure out what they really want, even when they’re still figuring it out themselves. Buyers often change their mind and priorities throughout the process. The sheer amount of hours and communication skill that it takes to work with a buyer is intense. This is why I strongly advocate for the full 2.5% commission to a buyer agent. They work hard and we want them working for us and bringing their clients to your home. If you pay 2% and the other home pays 2.5%, which house is the buyer agent going to encourage? That’s just human nature. It’s worth every penny to get the most demand for your home.
Why do you share all of this information on your website?
I want to eliminate the traditional high pressure sales tactics played in my industry. I want you to know everything you could possibly need to know BEFORE we meet. I want you to see the system I use down to the littlest detail, because make no mistake, the devil is in the details. Anyone can say they do “staging” and “marketing” and provide “website presence” but the delivery of these services vary drastically. The only way you can know the difference is to take your time to review everything in a calm, relaxed environment to make an informed decision. When you call me to your home, my goal is that you already feel pretty confident about my abilities so that we can focus on building rapport and a personalized strategy for your home.
Where do you work?
I sell homes in Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington & Etobicoke. With rare exceptions for past clients and family, I don’t leave this area. Again, my client-service model is based on local expertise & ensuring I have as much time for clients as possible. I know these areas like the back of my hand, so I am not interested in spending hours on the highway to do a listing in Markham. Any agent who says they can work the whole GTA can absolutely do so…….but how well they can do it is another question. So call me first, and if I can’t help you, I can refer you to an equally service-minded, professional realtor from my network throughout the GTA and beyond.
What can I expect from you?
You can expect to get a high level of service, and the best possible price for your home. Believe me, this is purely self-motivated. When you are thoroughly impressed and satisfied with the work I’ve done for you, you are far more likely to send your friends and family to me when they need help. I don’t have they typical personality of a real estate agent, and I do care very much about my client’s experience and making them happy. It would be far easier to think of clients as a transaction, but that’s just not how I’m built. You can expect transparency, honestly (I will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly), ethical behaviour, analytical and strategic advice, open communication and personal service. These are the core value of The Village Guru.
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is someone who wants to build a collaborative relationship with me. Someone who recognizes that I have industry knowledge that the average person doesn’t have, and that I have the experience to provide you the advice, information, and guidance you need to make the best decisions. I love the home sellers who call me up and tell me, “Jeff, I’ve been looking all over your website and I love what you do. I want to sell for the best price I can get and I want your services to do it”. This may sound cheesy, but when both my clients and I put our 100% positive effort towards the sale of their home, we get the best results time and time again.
What should I be sceptical of when Interviewing Agents?
Most of all, look out for high pressure sales lines that seem too good to be true or to get you to sign on the spot.
What should I be looking out for when interviewing agents?
See My Video About This. Once you’ve got it down to a few people who you feel are the most competent, choose the person whom you actually like. Someone you would enjoy working closely with, and communicate well enough with to share your thoughts and feelings. Selling a home gets stressful no matter how smoothly the process goes, because it is an uncommon life event with a lot hanging on the line. Few people take into account the value of working with an agent who can help you through the rough spots when you’re feeling the pressure.
How long is a normal contract?
I often sign an exclusive listing first, for an average of 20-60 days while we are working with you to prepare and stage your home. Once your home has been staged and photographed, we then sign the MLS contract for an average of around 120 days to get your home listed to the public and on all the websites.
Who does the listing "belong" to?
Most people do not realize that a listing belongs to the brokerage company, not an individual sales representative or broker. In case anything goes wrong, you should always ask about your exit strategy before you sign. If you have a problem with a real estate agent, the broker may let you switch to another agent within the company, but they are not obligated to let you out of the contract. You can’t be forced to sell your home, but they can suspend the listing for the duration of the contract in which case you can’t sell it with anyone else either. So make sure you like your agent, you like the brokerage, and you know your options and responsibilities of the contract.
So I like your services, your fee, and the info you have shared with me. Is it time to meet now?
Yes, as I mentioned before, I want you to know my services and what I will do for you long before we meet. The meeting is to ensure that we like each other and that we communicate well; things you have to find out in person. I want to discuss the individual sales strategy I would create for your home and, barring that we just don’t vibe well together (which does happen occasionally), I come prepared to sign the contract and get started working for you. If you have any major reservations, confusions, or questions, let’s figure all that out before we have a meeting so that you have the time to digest the information.
Does every home need to be prepared and staged?
Click here to see a video about this. Almost all of them, to some extent or another. This could be anything minor like a little furniture re-arrangement and editing, to larger tasks like replacing some fixed elements (like counters or tiles) to get a higher return on investment. The goal is three-fold;
I say “as possible” because it’s all relative; I’ll calculate the % of return you will see for the work you do, how much you think you can accomplish, and how much you want to sell for. We weigh all the considerations to come up with a realistic plan.
The end goal is to create as much buyer demand as humanly possible. The old saying “it just takes one buyer” is technically false. Buyers act as a group quite consistently. They’ll either all love your home or all pass on it. Your aim should be to create a product (your home) that is universally appealing to your entire target buyer group.
What do you charge for preparing and staging a listing?
This high-value, hands-on service is included as part of my service fee for my “5-Course Dinner” & “Rain Maker” packages. A lot of agents say they offer “staging” but its usually a basic consult and nothing more. What I include to you is far more than this, so that you know we are here assisting & advising every step of the way. A staged home will always sell for more money than a home not staged, so this is always a cornerstone of my sales strategy. Click Here to see a video about this
There are situations where you have already done a great job preparing your home before we meet. In these cases, I can reduce my feel since my marketing and professional services costs will be less.
What’s the first step?
The ideal situation is that you are reading this and decide to contact me BEFORE you start doing any work on your own. Our first goal is to design a plan around what we have to work with, downplaying and negatives and highlighting positive features. Our Home Stager will meet with you to discuss your budget, resources, helpers, time, etc. If you like her and want to work with us, we will then create a custom plan that is achievable and hits all the major points. This is not the time to stress you out, or give you a ten-mile list of must-do’s and then walk away. You will see we are with you every step of the way.
What are the most common recommendations?
The most common recommendations are:
This is all based on what has been proven to provide the largest return on investment. Staging is as much about knowing where to ignore as much as where to invest. Don’t look at your closets, kids rooms, den or basement, if your kitchen or bath need attention.
How do you help me prepare my home?
Preparation is all the little things you need to do before you stage, because staging can’t mask functional issues with a home. It includes;
How do you help me stage my home?
Staging is the art, the cherry on top of all the hard work you’ve put into your home. Its what will make your listing photography absolutely demolish any competition that isn’t staged.
What’s the best timeline to do all of this?
That is very much up to you, and how much time you have versus how much you want to do. It can be very stressful, especially if you have younger children, to say that you will work every free minute you have in order to be prepped and ready to go in 10 days. Most often, clients require 3-6 weeks to prepare the home, and as I said before, we are a part of this process in any way you need. This is also the time to ask for help from any friends and family you can. Moving is a huge life event and is made much easier with more hands working together. From help watching your kids while you do some work, to help with painting or moving boxes, the people who love you most might be your best asset…(I find offers of food and drink to be excellent motivators as well).
Is it important to get every item on the list completed?
Yes and no. The more you do the better impact you will see, and we’re not talking marginally better, but exponentially better. However, it’s very easy to get caught in the process, where the more you do, the more you see that needs fixing and you don’t know where to draw the line. A house is never perfect or completely finished, and we will be there to assess progress and let you know when you’ve reached the point where any extra work is no longer going to improve your sales price or outcome.
How do you come up with a price I should list my home for?
There are so many variables depending on the strategy we choose for your home.
Is it always best to list a bit high?
The price range I provide you includes a lower and higher end. This is all dependant on your goals, the presentation of your home, and so on. Many home owners want to list on the higher end of the range, and if you present a highly desirable product, it makes sense. If you get buyers to emotionally fall in love with your home, good things tend to happen. Just make note, listing little high should still fall within acceptable market range. If you stray as much as 5% out of market range, buyers are more likely to sit and wait for you to reduce your price.
How high is too high?
If you want to list at a price above the range I have provided you, you are entering a precarious situation. When a listing is more than even 5% overpriced, most buyers assume that you will be inflexible and unwilling to come down to a price that seems fair to them, and so no one makes an offer.
Here is an example of the kinds of conversations I’m willing to have with you that many others shy away from. I will agree to list at whatever price you want, but I will always be open and honest about what the sales data indicates. I will tell you right from day one that if we don’t get enough interest in the house, that we will be discussing a price adjustment after a few weeks before the listing goes stale and has stigma. I’m not afraid to have these kinds of conversations with you because you need to know the most likely scenario of every choice you make, and what is the next best step to get you to your goals.
What about listing low to create a bidding war?
Winter 2017 was the season of bidding wars, but it only works when there is extremely high demand. The future value need for an area must be more important than overpaying in the short term. Since the winter, I’ve seen a lot of attempts for multiple offers in Mississauga, where the seller received market price offers and did not accept. I know this because the house gets re-listed HIGHER, to try to get more money. Not a strong strategy; it ruins any advantage for the seller. So when we consider your location and goals, we can decide if this is an appropriate strategy or not.
How do I know who’s telling me the right price?
Trust no one, trust the sales history. First, an agent should show you, in detail, no glossing over, ALL of the comparable homes that have sold in your area. Ensure that all the homes are actually comparable to yours because just one or two homes that should or shouldn’t have been included can throw the numbers right off. The sale prices on the homes that sold 2,3,4,5+ months ago should be price adjusted for market appreciation. Second, the price provided to you should be written down. An old tactic is to get you to say what you think your house is worth first, so that the agent can immediately agree with you and everyone is happy, right? If you want to mess with agents say a really ridiculous price and see what their reaction is. What’s life if you can’t have a little fun?
All agent sound like they offer the same marketing, is there really any difference?
This is a very good and very critical question. There absolutely is a difference, and if the marketing of your listing is poor, it’s like casting a fishing net with holes in it; you can lose a lot of potential buyers. The best marketing shows a potential buyer exactly what they want to see at every stage, answers all their questions, so that they move through the entire process to produce offers. The highest sales price come from generating high levels of interest from the most possible buyers.
How can agents submit an MLS listing differently?
Below are a list of frequently committed listing FAILS
So as you can see there is a huge variance of what information is provided to buyers, and to lose a buyer who might be good for your listings at this stage is a wasted opportunity.
How can an agent get my listing different levels of website exposure?
Beyond your listing being posted to MLS and that agents’ website, there is the OPTION – it does not happen automatically – to share your listing across hundreds of other broker websites. This is a collaborative service that the agent has to sign up for long in advance. This creates far more exposure for your listing, with the thousands of people searching thousands of websites and listings all the time. Go to www.thevillageguru.ca to see an example of this type of listing-share website.
Secondly, I encourage my seller clients to agree to allow other agents to advertise the listing. There is a box on the listing paperwork, “Allow for Advertising”. If another agent wants to create a web page or a blog post about your listing, this is all the better for your exposure. This can only happen if you agree to it on the paperwork, and sadly I see this boxed checked ‘no’ on so many MLS listings, its incredible.
And third but not least, certain of my service packages include Facebook advertising, where I can advertise your listing to a very targeted group of people, those most likely to be your buyer. But most important, content is king. When I can build a story around your listing, pumping up the lifestyle of the area, with a beautiful video and pictures, we are more likely to grab more attention in a world that is full of noisy, low-content advertising.
How can agents use social media differently?
Marketing on social media is tricky, and a lot of businesses have ruined it. People don’t use social media to be inundated by ads and promotions, so it’s easy to tick people off. I tread very carefully with my fans, and try to engage them through content rich articles and sharing ideas and knowledge. This way, when I do post a listing, it stands out, yet my fans aren’t sick of hearing about “me” all the time.
If you look at most real estate agent pages, it’s the typical blast-out stuff; listings, open houses, and shares of newspaper stories. They’re lucky to get 5 likes. If you look at my posts, you will see my articles get 50-80 likes, along with shares and comments. I have happy, engaged, local fans who actually look at my posts and will actually see your listing.
What are the differences in media packages out there?
Since there’s more and more professional companies who offer real estate agents some very good media packages, I get really ticked when agents don’t use them. No agent is a professional photographer or artist, and should always be hiring professionals for photography & website tours, video tours, and print items like feature booklets. Some of my packages include hiring for floor plans, because buyers love all of this. Media helps to create the feeling buyers develop for your home, and you want it to be a good feeling!
Do you always advertise in the newspaper and other publications?
Some of my packages can include newspaper ads if requested by the home seller. But I want to be really honest about newspapers. Since the internet took over, they are almost useless for selling a home. With the Internet, even open houses are posted on Realtor.ca and so the return on investment for newspaper advertising is extremely low, especially compared to website advertising. So when I have a client who is looking to save some money, this is usually one of the first items I recommend.
What are your thoughts on Open Houses, do they work?
Open houses are great for creating a neighbourhood buzz, mostly because the majority of your guests will be your neighbours! lol This is not necessarily a bad thing, they may have family or friends wanting to move into the area, in which case they will be our best advocates. But most serious buyers have agents, and will book a private viewing to see the home. So do open houses actually attract the buyer who buys the home…….almost never. There are also security issues to consider and agents must have very strict protocol to keep your home and themselves safe. So I always discuss the topic with every owner to decide what their personal preference is.
How do you know if we are getting enough viewings to see a good offer?
There’s sort of an “invisible hand” principle at play that always holds true.
In short, once you get around 15 viewings from buyers who are looking for a home like yours, then you should see an offer. If no offers come, the price was too far out of range for them, even if they did like your home.
How do home showings work?
When your home is listed for sale on the MLS, any real estate agent (from our team or another company) who has a client who is interested must book a showing to see the property. How the process works:
1. Agent calls our office to book a showing time.
2. Our office calls you to confirm that time and date works for you.
3. Once that you confirm the appointment is ok, our office calls the other real estate agent’s office back (not the agent personally) and confirms that they work for the company.
4. Once everything checks out, at that time our office will give the lock box information to the other agent’s office who will then give it to them. At no time is the lock box info ever given to a real estate agent over the phone without confirming their identify.
Do I have to be present for showings?
No, we have lock boxes which allow agents to access your home after you confirm the showing. I actually encourage home owners NOT to be present when showings are going on because it makes the buyers uncomfortable and many times they rush through the property without taking a close enough look.
Do I need a lock box?
You are not required to have a lock box, but if you want to take my advice and not be present for showings it will be hard to do without one.
How long are showings?
Showings are typically scheduled in hour time slots, for example 1 to 2pm. If the property is getting a lot of interest and showings booked we can shorten that time frame down to 30 minutes to accommodate everyone.
What happens if a real estate agent is late for an appointment?
I wish I could say that never happens but every once in a while you get an agent running late who doesn’t call the office to let us know that. If you are home you have every right to refuse them entry at that point. I know it’s not a good answer but statistically you are bound to run into an agent who is late, or doesn’t turn off the lights, or causes some other minor inconvenience. If that happens let us know and we will deal with it. At the same time you kind of have to expect it and thats why the quicker you sell the less you will have to deal with the small number of unprofessional people out there.
Should I let someone look at my home without an appointment?
Never. Our system is set up to confirm the identity of the person and also keeps a record of who entered the property. If they haven’t booked an appointment tell them to call our office and we can confirm it very quickly if that’s the case. Anyone can go to Staples and have business cards made up, not saying that is the case but as my Grandmother always said, better safe than sorry.
When can I expect to start getting showings?
This is a tough question to answer because it all depends. As soon as your listing goes on the system it is available for 40,000 or so realtors to see so if someone happens to be looking they may see it and book right away. On the other hand, many agents set their clients up on what is called auto listing feeds where they will receive an email once a night with everything listed the day prior. That’s why we aim to list our properties on a Thursday, that way we show up in a buyers inbox Friday morning, just in time for the weekend.
My house was just listed but I don’t see it on www.mls.ca or www.realtor.ca, how come?
www.mls.ca and www.realtor.ca are websites that take their feed off of the local MLS board, but they are not the MLS. It can take anywhere from 24-48 hours for your listing to show up on the public site, it happens automatically and we have no control over when that happens. That’s another reason we like to list on Thursday, that way it gives it enough time for the listing to show on the public sites by the weekend, when most home buyers are looking.
When I can expect to receive agent feedback?
We have a process where we automatically request feedback from any agent who books an appointment. We also do follow up calls to all agents who don’t reply to try and get any relevant feedback. Having said that the realty is that 50% of agents at best will ever return a phone call for feedback. Your best feedback is whether you get an offer or not within a reasonable time.
How long will it take to get an offer?
It all depends on how you decide to price your home. We review all the market statistics with you when we meet and take that into consideration when recommending a sale price. If you price near market value you should sell within the average time, if you are over priced it will take a lot longer. For example, if homes similar to yours in your area take an average of 2 weeks to sell, and you’ve been on the market 60 days, that would indicate that home is over-priced.
How do we accept offers?
This will be a part of the strategy that we set up for your listing, but in most cases, I find it works well to accept offers as they come. The agent will either ask to send it to us and give us a set amount of time to consider it, or they will ask to meet so that the agent can present the offer to you in person. The agent must register the offer with my office, and then I will contact you.
What about verbal offers?
There is no such thing. No buyer is serious until they are willing to put pen to paper. Often, it’s a ploy from an interested buyer to scoop info from me before they submit a written price. There’s a term I use from my old Navy days, “Loose Lips Sink Ships”. We don’t discuss anything until there’s a real offer on the table.
Do you review the offer with me?
I always review the offers with you. Negotiating an offer is my favourite part of my job. If we have done a good job so far, there will have been lots of viewings and the offer has come in quickly; within the first 2 weeks. This gives me a very strong starting position because I can state how much interest there is in your home. Finding every way to sit in a position of advantage when negotiating a sale is key. We need buyers to love your home, and to believe that if they don’t act quickly, they will lose out to someone else.
What happens in a multiple offers?
A listing can receive multiple offers even when we didn’t make it our strategy. If we present a very desirable product, and have many viewings quickly, it is very possible to get more than one buyer putting in an offer. Again, the buyer agents must register the offer with my office, because once it’s registered then I can let all the other buyers know there’s an offer and now is the time to offer as well. Once we have received all the offers, we review them and you have 2 choices. A) You choose one that you will continue to negotiate with, and the other offers are discarded, or B) you push them all back for their best offer, if all the prices and/or terms are so close you can’t decide. There is the risk that none of them come back with a second offer, so we will discuss what is the best strategy given the situation. You CANNOT work with 2 offers simultaneously.
What is a bully offer?
If we have planned for a specific date or time to receive and review offers, a bully offers is when the buyer disregards these instruction and tries to push their offer through before the other offers come in. I don’t set times to review offers unless I am incredibly confident in the amount of offers we have registered. So it’s rare that accepting a bully offer is your best course of action. It is also speak to the way they do business, and it a bit of a red flag for possible issues down the road. It is also disrespectful to the other buyers who are willing to abide by our requests. A few years back, a buyer client of mine was prepared to submit their offer into multiple offers, only for the listing agent to accept a bully offer hours beforehand, for a LOWER price than what we were about to offer. So that seller did not come out ahead by accepting the bully offer.
What if one offer is substantially higher than the others, should I take it?
This is where my experience drives my instincts for who I think is the most solid buyer. Many things can fall apart after a deal is signed and you want to find the buyer who appears to be the most likely to complete on the sale. A great clue is the size of their deposit; and whether they bring the cheque with them. Because promised deposit cheques don’t show up, deals are scuttled over minor issues on home inspection, and if the price is ridiculously high, the bank can call it out as too high and not provide the buyer financing. So my answer is maybe yes but sometimes no, because when something looks too good to be true……..it usually is.
Can you represent both the buyer and seller?
Most sellers ask their agent to represent both them and the buyer if the opportunity arises, so that they can negotiate down the commission. I’ll tell you why I don’t like “double-ending” and in 8 years, the situation has never presented itself. Instead of advocating on your behalf, I become more of a customer service agent. I have info about you that I can’t share with the buyer, and I have info about the buyer that I can’t share with you. I know your bottom dollar and their top price. Both your priorities are conflicting and I can’t do my best job for anyone. I’d much rather stick with you and refer the buyers to an agent in my network, so that we can really push to get the best price we can, and it still gives me an opportunity to give you the best price I can.
What would be considered the strongest offer?
Money is only one of many considerations. If you had an offer that was slightly lower than you wanted but the buyer had no conditions of finance or inspection, that is just like money in the bank. Once you sign it, it’s a done deal and the home is sold firm immediately. As I mentioned, there’s a lot of ways for a deal to fall apart on conditions, so to have no conditions is king. Also, if you need a specific closing date, say if you have bought a home already and you don’t want to own 2 homes with 2 mortgages, getting your closing date might have value to you as well. I try to spy out a solid buyer by the way the buyer agent behaves; are they playing games or trying to pull tricks? Are they forthright, and on the level? The strongest offer, in the end, is the one that comes from the buyer who will actually close on the deal.
What do we do now that we have accepted an offer?
It all depends, if there are conditions as part of the Agreement then we work to ensure the buyer(s) are able to fulfill them. This might include granting access to the home for an inspection or bank appraisal. Common conditions include a home inspection, financing and a review of status certificate for condominiums. Regardless of the condition type, It’s important to note that while it’s easy to relax during this time, the home is technically still for sale and in most cases it is up to the buyer to waive the condition(s) making the deal binding. During this time we still market the home and recommend allowing showings in case the deal falls through.
How does the home inspection work?
The home inspection gives buyers a chance to do their due diligence, and make sure the home is in the condition they thought it was when making an offer. Generally speaking, the home inspector is looking for mechanical, electrical, foundation, and building code issues that could affect the house.
What happens if something is discovered on the home inspection?
It all depends on the way the home inspection clause is worded in the agreement. Typically, home inspection clauses in residential real estate are written in a way that gives the buyers the power to either waive the condition (accept the home as is) or not to do anything and the deal expires. In most cases where an issue is discovered, the two sides can negotiate some sort of arrangement to remedy the situation- however it is up to both sides to agree.
When does the deal go firm?
Once we have received the deposit and the signed waivers for any conditions on the sale, such as finance, inspection or status certificate (condos), then the deal goes firm and the home’s status is changes to sold.
Do things ever change after it goes firm?
Yes, nothing is done until it’s done. Sometimes the seller or the buyer wants to change the closing date, and this can be done if both parties agree.
We are sold firm, what’s the next step?
If you haven’t already found your next home, now is the time to start that process. Click here to see my Service for Home Buyers.
What can I do to get organized for the move?
Start collecting a variety of moving check-lists and fuse them together to build your own comprehensive list
Do I have to move out of my old home and into my new one on the same day?
No. There is a product called bridge financing that many people take advantage of. It allows you to take possession of your new home a few days or weeks before you close on your current home. This allows you to move in more slowly, clean or paint before you have to move all the furniture in and many people find it much less stressful. It does cost a little extra so you need to decide what’s more important to you.
Are you available to us during this time?
Absolutely. I will call and check in on you periodically, but please be proactive and contact me with any help you find you need.