Connie Bukoski

Crognali Realty

Cell 204-266-1431

Office 204-268-8066

Email: connie@crognalirealty.ca

If you are considering looking for a new house, and are a current home-owner, then chances are you’re wondering what your strategy should be:  do you wait to find the perfect new home before you put your current home on the market, or do you sell first and then look around?  You have a few options.  Use the following as a guide to explore what might be the best move for you.

 

Sell First:

 

There are several benefits to selling your current house before searching for your next home.  First of all, once you have sold your house, you will know precisely how much money you have to work with.  With a concrete price range, you’ll be able to narrow the pool of houses before you begin looking, and negotiate accordingly.  This will allow you to immediately make firm offers on houses that you are serious about purchasing.  You can be first in line with an unconditional offer you know you can afford, and this will grant even further negotiating leverage as Sellers tend to take unconditional offers more seriously.  When they counter or turn down an offer that’s conditional on the sale of a home, they usually think the Buyer will come back with a better and more firm offer once they have sold their current home.  However, if you make an unconditional offer, the Seller will usually give you more consideration, as they realize you’re probably looking at other properties and will move on if your offer is rejected.  Likewise, if you have already sold you house, you probably do have a wider opportunity to look around, negotiate, and find the best deal and fit for you and your family.

 

The flip side of this scenario, however, is that if you don’t find the right property before the closing date of the house you’ve already sold, you may have to look for temporary housing until you do find what you’re looking for.

 

So, before you opt to sell first, you should determine whether you have alternate, temporary options, in case you have to move from your house before you’ve found a new one. How would you and your family deal with living in a transition home for an undetermined period of time?

 

 

Buy First:

 

Buying a new house without having sold your current home may occur if you are interested in a specific property and will only sell your current home if this property comes on the market.  It may be a matter of timing—grabbing hold of the home before it’s too late.  The same might be said of a property you haven’t had you eye on previously, but that catches your attention due to its uniqueness or unbelievable price.  If buying first means you don’t miss out on the real estate opportunity of a lifetime, it may be the best move.

 

However, be careful. If you buy another property and aren’t able to sell your current home quickly enough, you could end up having to finance both homes and shoulder the extra debt until you sell.  You can get a financial appraisal or market evaluation of a home prior to selling, but this doesn’t guarantee the price you’ll ultimately receive for the home after the negotiation process has run its course.  Since your selling price will be an unknown, jumping into a purchase could be a gamble, particularly if your budget is tight. 

 

Make sure you’re familiar with all aspects of the financial reality this scenario would create before you purchase another home.  You may be faced with owning two homes at once.  What type of financial stress would this bring to your life and how would you deal with it?  Consider the fact that if your current house doesn’t sell quickly enough, you may be forced to sell it off at a reduced price in order align the closing dates of your two properties.  What effect would this have on your financial situation?

 

Conditional Offer:

 

An additional option involves making your offer to purchase conditional upon the sale of your current property within a specified period.  Conditional offers usually include a clause that allows for the Sellers to keep their property on the market and remain open to other offers while you try to sell your home.  If the Sellers receive another attractive offer before you’ve sold your home, they may accept and ask you to either remove your condition and firm up your offer, or to back down from the offer.  A conditional offer forms a kind of middle ground, an area of compromise, for those who are afraid to sell or buy first—but doesn’t hold the advantages of the other two options.

 

One of the drawbacks of the conditional offer is that Sellers tend to take them less seriously.  They definitely give stronger consideration to firm offers.  This leaves you with less negotiating power.  In fact, some Sellers will simply turn down or counter a conditional offer.  Other Sellers will believe the Buyer will come back with a more serious offer when their home has sold.  So, you may end up having to increase your offer in order to have your conditional offer accepted and keep your foot in the door of your desired house. 

 

Even if your conditional offer is accepted, there is no guarantee another Buyer won’t step in and overthrow your offer before you have sold your current home, which would put you back at the starting line.  Also, consider the fact that you cannot withdraw your conditional offer until the end of the period specified in the contract—which means that if a better deal comes along, you will have to wait to jump at it.  

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“You never get a second chance at a first impression.”  We’ve all heard this expression before.  And now, while you are preparing your house to sell, it should not be far from your mind. 

 

While logical factors such as price and location narrow the pool of houses a potential buyer will look at, the ultimate decision to buy a particular house is fuelled by a mixture of logic and emotion.  And emotion often wins out.  The same might be said for the process of selling a home.  For this reason, Real Estate Agents, when they talk to you about buying real estate, will refer to your purchase as a “home.”  When discussing the sale of your current home, however, an agent will refer to it as the “house.”  This is a conscious choice.  The agent knows that buying a house is often an emotional decision, while, when selling a house, emotion should be separated from the process. 

 

Buyers are searching for a “home”—a place in which they will feel comfortable, secure, and happy, a place in which they can imagine settling down and raising their family.  As a seller, your goal is to cultivate these feelings through the property you’re selling.  Look at your house as a marketable commodity.  A buyer’s emotional response is triggered early, so you want to ensure you have done everything you can to encourage a positive response to your house from the outset.  Within minutes—even seconds—of pulling into your driveway, buyers have formed an impression that they will carry with them through the rest of the showing, and beyond.  Keep in mind, this impression will not only influence whether or not they make an offer, but also what they consider to be the value of the property.    

 

If you’ve ever visited model homes, you’re familiar with effective presentation styles.  Have you ever walked into one of these homes and immediately begun taking stock, planning how to get your home to look that good?  Well, now is the time to take some of these steps.  Of course, there are ways to achieve the same effect in your own home without incurring model home costs.   

 

When homes create this immediate type of emotional appeal, they tend to sell quickly—and for more money.  Use the following step-by-step guide to get your house into selling shape before you put the property on the market, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful sale!

 

1.      Depersonalize.

 

This should be one of your first steps when you begin preparing your house to sell.  Over the years, a home inevitably becomes tattooed with the owners’ lives, covered with touches that have made it that special place for you.  At this point, however, you want buyers to recognize it as a property they could make into their unique place.  When a homebuyer walks into a room and sees these personalizing touches—such as photos on the walls or trophy collections—their ability to picture their own lives in this room is jarred, impairing a positive emotional response.  So, your first step will be to remove all the family photos, the trophies, collectible items, and souvenirs.  Pack them all together, so you’ll have everything you need at your disposal when it comes time to personalize your new home. For the time being, rent a storage space and keep these items there.  Do not simply transfer these items to another place in your house.  Do not hoard them away in a closet, basement, attic, or garage, as the next step in preparing your home is to minimize clutter—and these areas of your house will all be targeted.

 

2.      Remove all clutter.

 

The next step on the list is to purge your house of the excess items that have accumulated over the years.  This is the hardest part for many people, as they have an emotional investment in many of these things.  When you have lived in a house for several years, a build-up of personal effects occurs that is often so gradual that you don’t notice the space is becoming cluttered.  If you need to, bring in an objective friend to help point out areas that could stand to be cleared.  Try to stand back yourself and see your house as a buyer might.  Survey shelves, countertops, drawers, closets, the basement—all places where clutter often accumulates—to determine what needs to go.  Use a system to help you decide:  get rid of all items, for example, you haven’t used in the past five years, and pack up everything that you haven’t used in the past year.  Although getting rid of some things might be hard, try to do it without conscience or remorse.  You’ll be forced to go through this process anyway when you move, and with each box you eliminate, your storage space—and the room in general—begins to look larger.  We’ve broken down the process into specific areas of your house to help you concentrate your efforts:

 

Kitchen:

The kitchen is an ideal place to begin, as it’s easy to spot and eliminate the type of clutter that tends to accumulate here.  Homebuyers will open your drawers and cabinets as they’ll want to check if there will be enough room for their own belongings.  If the drawers appear cluttered and crowded, this will give them the impression there is not enough space.  

 

  • First of all, remove everything from the counters, even the toaster (the toaster can be stored in a cabinet, and brought out when needed).
  • Clean out all the cabinets and drawers.  Put aside all of the dishes, pots and pans that you rarely use, then box them and put them in the storage unit you have rented (again, not in the basement or a closet).
  • If you, like many people, have a “junk drawer,” clear this out.
  • Get rid of the food items in the pantry that you don’t use.  Begin to use up existing food—let what you have on your shelves dictate your menus from now on.
  • Remove all extra cleaning supplies from the shelves beneath the sink.  Make sure this area is as empty as possible.  You should thoroughly clean this spot as well, and check for any water stains that might indicate leaking pipes.  Buyers will look in most cabinets, and will notice any telltale signs of damage.

 

Closets:

  • Go through all clothes and shoes.  If you don’t wear something anymore, get rid of it.  We all have those clothes, too, that we wear only once in awhile, but can’t bear to give away.  Box these items and keep them in the storage unit for a few months. 
  • Go through all other personal items in the closet.  Be ruthless.  Weed out everything you don’t absolutely need.
  • Remove any unsightly boxes from the back of the closet.  Put them in storage if need be.  Get everything off the floor.  Closets should look as though they have enough room to hold additional items.

 

Furniture:

  • You may want to tour a few model homes in order to gauge the type of furniture chosen by design teams to create a spacious, yet comfortable atmosphere.  Note how that furniture is arranged to cultivate a certain feeling.
  • After having armed yourself with some ideas, stand back and look at each of your rooms.  What will you need to remove?  Remember, most homes contain too much furniture for showings.  These are items that you’ve grown comfortable with and that have become incorporated into your everyday routine.  However, each room should offer a sense of spaciousness, so some furniture will likely need to be placed in storage.

 

Storage Areas:

  • Basements, garages, attics, and sheds:  these are the “junkyard” areas of any given home.  It is possible to arrange simple clutter into a certain order, but junk is sent packing to these often-hidden rooms.  First, determine which of these boxes and items you actually need.  Can some of it be sent to the dump once and for all?
  • Hold a Garage Sale.  You’ve heard the saying, “One person’s trash is another’s treasure.”  Let these items go to a better home.
  • Transfer some items to the rental storage unit.  You’ll want to clear the storage areas in your house as much as possible, in order for them to appear spacious to potential home-buyers.  Buyers want the reassurance that their own excess belongings will find places for storage in their new home.

 

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Selling your home is a complex process that can be stressful and time-consuming.  An experienced REALTOR® has the knowledge, skills, and connections to help you through the process every step of the way.  Consider the following benefits of working with a Realtor:

 

Professional Experience:

 

With knowledge and training in marketing strategy, negotiation tactics, and the workings of the current real estate market, a Realtor will be able to guide you through the steps of the home-selling process and be able to explain exactly what to expect. They will make you aware of your rights and responsibilities, work with you to strategize the best moves according to your own goals, discuss financing options, and point you in the direction of other specialized professionals who will aid you in different stages of the process.

 

Best Price:

 

Realtors have their fingers on the pulse of the current real estate market, and will know what comparable properties in your area are selling for.  They have the resources and knowledge to establish the best asking price and to attract the highest selling price.  With access to their company’s professional marketing resources and connections, they will ensure potential buyers are immediately made aware of your home and market the property to sell as quickly as possible and for the most money.

 

“Showcasing” Experience:

 

Your Realtor will know the importance of a property’s first impression.  They will have experienced first-hand, for example, the impact a property’s “drive-up appeal” has on the rest of a potential Buyer’s experience of your home.  Your Realtor will be able to offer you tips and information on how to get your home in the best selling shape possible, in order to sell your property quickly and for top dollar.

 

Access to Qualified Buyers:

 

Realtors save time and effort by dealing only with qualified buyers.  They have access to a pool of pre-screened and pre-qualified buyers who are serious about buying a home in your neighbourhood.  Realtors work hard to develop this base of qualified buyers which will become an invaluable resource for you.

 

Negotiation Skills:

 

Realtors serve many functions, but perhaps the most important is their role as primary negotiator on your behalf.  Your Realtor realizes your goal is to sell your home as quickly as possible, and for the most money possible, and will work closely with you during the negotiation process to facilitate this goal.  Realtors bring to the process the knowledge and skills to draw up legally binding contracts, to assist in negotiating offers and counter-offers, and to offer counsel and perspective as you work toward your selling goals.

 

 

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