Below are tips and advice from real people who were my clients and who have sold a property. I thought it would be interesting to check in with recent clients from a few months ago to clients from four years ago to get an idea of what they think of their selling process, what worked best for them, what needed more attention, and what advice they could offer to sellers who are planning to sell in the future.
I have asked five basic questions. Sometimes I have had similar responses. Other times the responses varied widely. I believe I have targeted a good cross-section of sellers. They consist of house owners, condo owners, first-time sellers, last-time sellers, empty nesters, singles, artists, new parents, workaholics, nine-to-fivers, and entrepreneurs.
I did not include every response I received, but I thought I would feature some of the more interesting and/or recurrent ones for each of my five questions. Please note that many respondents wrote some nice compliments of me in their responses. I did not include them all, but I did include a few. It does emphasize what sellers do like about me.
So, with all that said, here are the responses from a collection of some of my sellers from not-too-long ago. Thanks sellers for your participation!
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING EXPERIENCE YOU HAD DURING THE TIME YOU WERE PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE AND SELLING YOUR HOME?
“Our second child. Lukas decided to arrive 2 weeks early, right in the middle of trying to get the house into sellable shape was the biggest challenge for sure!”
“Time it took to sort through everything and purge in order to make the house presentable. Moving all the excess stuff out. Finding somewhere to stay during the week it was on the market. Conversations about what amount to list it at.”
“The most challenging part was making sure our condo was clean, uncluttered and looking amazing every time we left. This includes when you are heading to work in a rush in the morning! You just never know when someone will book a viewing. So, you have to be ready.”
“As it was a shared office space, one of the biggest challenges was in confirming when all of us were prepared to move, and sorting out the furniture and other items between us.”
“We had a tight timeline – we wanted to get our place ready and put on the market in 5 weeks. David prepared a schedule down to every fine detail – home tidying and decluttering, professional cleaning, home staging, photography and marketing- and somehow he managed to keep us on track. Also, there were quite a bit of legal and financial preparations involved which we knew very little about. David taught us everything, and when an offer came in, we were ready to accept.”
WHAT WAS THE BEST EXPERIENCE YOU HAD SELLING YOUR HOME?
“It was having an agent we both liked and could trust. We didn’t realize how important this was until things got really busy. You spend a lot of time with your realtor (planning, organizing, coordinating, managing schedules) and it is so important that you all get along and can communicate openly. We juggled everything and learned a lot.”
“The best part was getting $40,000 over asking!”
“It sold quickly!”
“It was fairly easy, I thought. And thus, a good experience.”
“The best part was getting over asking – we were pleasantly surprised!”
“The service from David – he gave us great confidence and managed everything that came up calmly and efficiently. The stager of our house made everything work very efficiently.”
WHAT PART OF THE MARKETING OF YOUR HOME DO YOU FEEL HAD THE MOST IMPACT ON GENERATING INTEREST IN YOUR PROPERTY?
“The staging and then the resulting professional photos allowed our MLS listing to shine.”
“It was an advantage to work with a real estate agent who was familiar with the building and its sales, and who had existing contacts whom he knew were looking for a unit in that building.”
“Given the cookie-cutter nature of condos in the building, I think that it was more the marketing of the building rather than the marketing of the unit that was important.”
“We believe the staging and the professional level of photography led to generating the highest level of interest in the property. We can’t imagine how anyone goes to market without staging their home and/or with substandard photos.”
“Definitely the staging. Our home showed beautifully after the make-over and it attracted a lot of walk-ins to our open house.”
“The video! And the neighbourhood flyers.”
WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY ABOUT SELLING A HOUSE IF YOU HAD TO DO IT AGAIN?
“Get in touch with a realtor early. When putting a house on the market, timing is one of the most important things. Creating a strategy and a realistic timeline with your realtor will relieve a lot of the anxiety and stress.”
“I would tell myself not to be so nervous!”
“What we did worked. In all honesty, if you see a property you like and you buy it, you manage to make things work out on the selling side. You don’t really have a choice.”
“I’d start preparing the house a lot earlier, at least 6 months before selling if possible.”
ANY ADVICE FOR SELLERS SELLING THEIR HOME NOW?
“Trust your realtor. If he or she says to de-clutter, to take down personal photos, get a new bedspread, do it! As much as buyers say they can see past how an owner has designed or decorated their place, it is tough to do. Making your property appeal to a wide base and look great is very important.”
“Find the right person to help you. We did our homework and researched a number of top realtors in Toronto. it was hard to decide based on reviews along. So, we decided to meet with our top picks. David’s approach to his work, his ideas and insights, and his years of experience and knowledge put his immediately at ease and we knew he was the right one for the job.”
“If you have any pets, move them out for the period that the house is on the market, sand don’t live in your house, if possible, during that time either (it helps). And go back every evening to wipe things down and make sure every thing is in place.”
“Check to ensure that the agent you engage has experience with sales in the area that you are selling in. I went online and looked at which real estate agents had recently sold the properties in the building I was in. I believe that I benefitted from the experience and knowledge of the agent that I used (It was someone David had known that was looking in the building who bought my condo).”
“Start preparing the house as early as possible. Stage it and use an agent you trust.”