7 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make in this Shifting Ontario Real Estate Market
The real estate market in Windsor-Essex and most locations in Ontario are going through a fairly drastic shift… but this doesn’t scare us – this market is what Border City Living was created for! We have a ton of experience selling unique properties that don’t naturally have the longest list of potential buyers, even in a hot market. This means we’ve always had to go above-and-beyond marketing properties to buyers who are actually qualified, right off the bat, making our properties stand out among the competition and sell faster for top dollar. For those of you who are mulling around the idea of jumping into this changing market here are some of our expert tips!
1. Don’t Use an Inexperienced or Unmotivated Realtor
All of us agents were all new to this business at some point, so ‘new’ doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t get the job done – just make sure to vet any realtor properly. If they are newer, what sort of support do they receive from their brokerage? Do they have ‘connections’ in the industry already? Other valuable resources? A big social media following utilizing professional photography or copywriters?
Keep in mind that using an agent who has been around for decades, without properly discussing their marketing strategies, is equally as risky. Now, more than ever, a sign on the lawn doesn’t quite cut it; buyers expect properties to be presented professionally. So, be sure your agent is up-to-date with all marketing materials (please, don’t accept any flip-phone pics) the latest e-signing technologies and is available to answer any questions even outside of office hours.
2. Avoid Paying Big Bucks for Staging but Don’t Skip it Completely
Renting furniture from a professional staging company can cost thousands of dollars especially if a home doesn’t sell quickly. Furniture may even need to be returned prior to receiving an offer – unless the seller is willing to pay extra charges for extended periods. In this changing market, where overall house prices are decreasing and days on market have been stretching out far beyond the common 7-day window, this service may not feel like a wise investment. Many sellers have decided to scrap the staging altogether to save the extra costs, which ultimately means their homes aren’t being presented as well as they could be. Luckily, our services include complimentary creative staging and restyling with our real estate packages. During our first visit to your home, we’ll advise on how we can transform your space in order to fetch top dollar without the added expense of a staging company.
3. Not finishing Home Improvement Projects
Buyers have become pickier as their newfound negotiating power has increased. This means we’re seeing home inspections and other contingencies, with longer and more frequent viewing appointments where it becomes clearer which homes are better maintained. We’ve always recommended doing home improvements the “right way” (because hey, we like to sleep at night) but now it’s more important than ever to tie up all loose ends. Tidying up landscaping, power washing, painting and repairing trim or finishing a kitchen reno can go a very long way in this market! While we always believed that you never get a second chance at a first impression, we can’t stress enough that the tides have turned and small things can turn a buyer off completely.
4. Not Pricing Ahead of the Market
It’s important in a shifting market to ensure your property is priced ahead of the market, not behind, or you’ll be continually reducing to catch up to everyone else. The perfect price can be difficult to determine and requires extensive research, even for those of us who price properties day-in-and-day-out. This is often one of the most important things that your realtor will help you with, so be sure to take all of the data into consideration before deciding what price you’ll go to market with. Busy realtors will have physically visited the comparable listings with other clients and will have access to more information on all the recent sales. Applying all of these resources and knowledge of exactly what buyers are looking for will help determine the price that will keep your listing ahead of a declining market and top-of-mind for potential buyers.
5. Relying on Old-School Marketing Strategies
Every home and every sale is unique, which is why marketing strategies need to be carefully curated to fit each listing specifically. Knowing what type of buyer your property is likely to attract and marketing to suit that buyer’s interests is a necessary specialty. Digital marketing is, of course, a major part of how people find listings nowadays. But, you’ll need to be visible on more platforms than Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji or even Realtor.ca. Lifestyle marketing and social media play a huge part in telling the story behind a home’s four walls. Simply posting the pictures, price and a few features is, well… boring and not captivating. Buyers need to be educated on what makes your home special and inviting. Also, some people need to learn about properties outside the online world at unique marketing-focused events and open houses, or in print, featured in physical magazines (like ours!) that get delivered directly to hundreds of like-minded people in the area.
6. Ignoring the Calendar/Time of Year
Years of experience in the real estate market will teach you that (even in an uber-hot market) there are better and worse times to buy or sell. When things were at their peak, sellers would see slightly fewer offers at certain times of the year but properties would still fetch over the asking price and higher than expected. Now that things have shifted, listing at times of the year when the motivation to buy anything is low in general, such as during the holidays, could throw off your entire selling strategy.
7. Assuming the highest offer is the ‘best’ offer
Contrary to popular belief, the offer with the highest price may not always be the best offer to accept in a transitional market. Sure, when you receive five ‘cash’ offers in one night with no conditions the price is usually the main determining factor, but when prices drop and buyers start backing out of purchases, a $5,000 price difference could be the difference between a property closing or needing to be re-listed for less. Be sure to keep an eye out for bigger deposits, faster closings and specific clauses that can help to ensure a successful transaction for all.
Keller Williams Lifestyles Realty / Independently Owned and Operated
Deidre Ritsche & Stephanie Bradt