Guide to Selling Vancouver Real Estate

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Below is an overview of the sales process when selling Vancouver real estate. With the West Haven Group, our marketing and media buying strategy is far more complicated and complex, but we will stick to the more basic, general components here, for simplicity.

Basic Marketing

Photos:

We work with photographers that specialize in real estate to ensure that your home is captured in the most flattering lighting and angles. We identify and showcase your house’s unique features that make it stand out from the rest.

3D floor plan:

We have professionals measure your property with industry-leading technology to ensure accuracy, and create a 3D floor plan to provide potential buyers with an important visual and decision-making tool.

Video:

Video has proven to be a powerful marketing tool, with potential buyers not only appreciating video but also expecting it. We create a video of your property to guide potential buyers through the property in an informative way, while building interest in an in-person viewing.

Social media platforms:

Social media can be a powerful way to advertise listings when used effectively. We arrange for focused advertising on high-traffic pages to produce high quality potential buyers.

Feature Brochure:

We use the professional photographs and accurate floor plans to create custom-designed feature brochures. Each feature brochure is curated to be visual and a memorable guide to the property.

Staging:

We strongly encourage all of our seller clients to take advantage of strategic staging, which can mask the downsides of a space (for example, low natural light). It also renders a layout more functional, and makes a space feel newer and more expensive. In our years of staging experience, the cost of staging is always outweighed by the increase in perceived value (which equates with the sale price).

Strategic Pricing

  • A strategic list price is critical to achieving the highest possible sale price in a timely manner.

  • Choosing a listing agent based on what they tell you your home is worth will not guarantee the best selling experience, nor the best sale price. Realtors ‘buying listings’ (inflating a home’s value during a listing presentation) is a fairly common practice, so sellers must beware.

  • Since no two homes are ever identical with respect to location, finishings, decor, quality, and market timing, strategically analyzing all factors is imperative. A competent listing agent will consider all of these elements to formulate the best strategy.

  • There are several pricing strategies and other techniques to achieve the highest possible sale price. A great listing agent is skilled at all and knows when to engage each strategy.

  • A seller tends to have the most negotiating power within the first 1-2 weeks of the property being on the market. Missing this window may reduce the seller’s negotiating power and shift that power to the buyer.

  • ‘Starting high to see how the market responds’ and then reducing the price later tends to result in a lower final sale price than pricing properly from the outset when seller negotiating power is at its highest.

  • The longer a property sits on the market, the more potential buyers question whether the property has a serious flaw. Some buyers will even choose not to view the home, believing that everyone else who has seen it must not have liked it (hence why it has not yet sold).

Preparing Your Home

  • Deep clean - Ensure that every single nook and cranny in your home is meticulously cleaned. Ensure there are no scents – even if you think they smell appealing, others may find them too strong or distracting. The goal is for the property to look and smell as new as possible. Then, consider cleaning (or hiring a cleaning service) to perform a thorough clean every week until the property sells to maintain this high standard of cleanliness.

  • De-clutter - Remove all personal items. Most people also have to remove approximately 25% or more of the rest of their belongings to ensure the home looks spacious, not too “lived in” and uncluttered. Therefore, it is possible that you will require space in the garage or a rented storage unit until a firm offer is in place.

  • Minor repairs - Replace cracked tiles, touch up paint, re-caulk re-grout bathrooms, fix door knobs and squeaky doors, and repair leaky faucets. Remember, the goal is for the home to feel as loved, taken care of, and new as possible.

  • Flooring, paint, light fixtures - When we have chosen the best features, the home can feel several years newer, which results in an increased sale price that almost always far exceeds the cost of performing these updates.

  • Staging: We are highly adept at recommending how to incorporate existing pieces into a staging effort, and know who to include for a more complete, professional staging job.

  • Marketing: Ensure the home is flawless for photo and video day. We always arrive about 1 hour prior to starting to ensure all the photos will be ‘show-home quality’.

Seller’s Checklist

  • Obtain a copy of your survey (houses only)

  • Provide us with a set of keys and your alarm code, if applicable

  • Determine your average monthly BC Hydro expense, and any other utility costs

  • Find receipts and warranties for any home improvements and new appliances

  • Make a list of upgrades, especially ones that are not immediately obvious (such as in-floor heating)

  • Confirm your maintenance fee (strata properties only)

The Selling Process

Meet with the West Haven Group team:

  • Discuss your needs and goals

  • Develop pricing, marketing strategy and marketing plan

  • Agree on timeline

Marketing:

  • Staging

  • Professional photos

  • Video

  • 3D floor plan

List:

  • Private showings

  • Open houses

  • Offer deadline (if applicable)

Offers:

  • Negotiate price, dates, subjects, etc.

  • Receive accepted offer

Subjects:

  • Subjects addressed

  • Subjects removed

Legal & Lender:

  • Choose lawyer or notary for conveyancing

  • Contact lender to alert them to mortgage payout or porting

  • Attend appointment for reviewing and signing closing documents

Preparing for move:

  • Pack or hire out packing

  • Movers

  • Clean and prepare for new home owner

Possession

  • Arrange for keys to be given to the new home owner

Costs of Selling

Commission:

  • Most commonly, 7% on the first $100,000 of the sale price, and 2.5% on the balance, plus GST

  • Of this, 3.255% on the first $100,000 of the sale price, and 1.1625% on the balance, plus GST, is offered to the buyer’s agent

  • This includes all marketing expenses, strata documents, and land title office documents (this expense is typically approximately $2,500)

Legal Fees:

  • Legal Fees: Legal fees are approximately $1,000 for sellers

  • Disbursements: Additional legal expenses called disbursements may be included in your legal fees, or may be upwards of $500 more. Disbursements include travel, photocopies, couriers, registration fees, and preparing document transfers.

  • Adjustments: It is difficult for a seller to calculate exactly how much money is owed to which utilities on closing day. Your lawyer will ensure that any overpayments or deficiencies on rents, mortgage interest, property tax, and utility charges will be corrected. Following this, the buyer and seller will be credited or charged accordingly.

Mortgage Pre-payment:

  • You may incur a penalty for paying out your mortgage early (prior to the end of your term period). Contact your lender to find out whether you will incur a mortgage pre-payment penalty, and if so, the cost of the penalty . Note that this may not apply if you are porting the existing mortgage to your next property.

We hope that this overview is helpful in planning your next Vancouver real estate sale.