BuyersSellers 9 November 2022

Buying and Selling at the Same Time

The scenario of buying and selling your home at the same time has been coming up more recently now that the housing market in Sudbury has entered a more balanced state.  In a very competitive market, you can still buy a new home and sell your existing one at the same time but it is definitely more challenging.  The key to doing this successfully without having to find temporary housing is having enough time to work with.multiple houses

The pieces to this puzzle are simple but the order of events is often concerning.  You are going to buy a home and you are going to sell your current home.  Which do you do first?  Do you need to sell first so you can then have the money available to go and buy?  Or can you buy first and sell later?  What happens if you sell and can’t find another home?  What if I buy a home and haven’t sold my current one?

If you have another home that you can move into while you sell your house and find another one (like your parent’s or kid’s or friend that is willing to put you up) then you can tackle this in whatever order you wish.  Most people don’t have that luxury and need some better security when buying and selling homes.

Everybody’s situation is going to be different and the order you choose will make sense to your family.  The best way to tackle this situation is to find the home you want to buy first.  While you are searching for your new home, get your current home prepped and ready for sale.  De-clutter, paint, stage and do all of those little repairs you have been putting off.  When you find the home you want to buy, your agent will guide you through making an offer conditional on the firm sale of your home.  This means that you will not be forced to buy the new home if your current home does not sell.  This condition generally is set up with a timeline to get your home sold so that the seller of the other home doesn’t have to wait indefinitely for you to sell your place.  That is why it is a good plan to get your home ready such that when you put in your offer, you can quickly get your current home on the market.

When you add in a condition to a purchase offer on the sale of your home, the seller usually is allowed to continue showing the home to other potential buyers.  The seller wants to sell their home as quickly as possible and for the most money possible.  The seller can accept your conditional offer but if another offer comes in that they want to work with, they may choose to do so.  Again, depending on how your offer is structured, the seller typically has to give you notice and an opportunity to remove the home sale condition from your offer.  If you remove the condition, then your offer stands and you are now committed to buying that house even if your house doesn’t sell.  Risky business!  If you don’t waive the condition, then your deal will become null and void and they will work with the new buyer.

Ideally, you will want to set up the sale of your home to finalize on the same day or a day or two earlier than the closing of the home you are wanting to buy.  This helps to make sure the lawyers have enough time to transfer the funds for the home transactions.  You can line it all up for the same day but make sure your lawyer is aware that is happening so they prioritize the transactions.  Another option is to ask your lender for bridge financing.  If they agree, that will allow you to hold both properties for a short period of time as the sales finalize.

Still not quite clear on how buying and selling your homes will play out?  Feel free to connect with me and I will happily walk you through the scenarios and answer your questions.

Buyers 7 June 2022

Why is the list price so low??

Sold over asking! Crazy amounts above the list price are the talk of every virtual water cooler these days. Can you believe that they sold their home for that much over asking? Why am I having such a hard time buying a home in my price range and keep getting out-bid?

If you have been pondering these questions, rest assured that you are not alone. Having had such a strong seller’s market, pricing has been rising and it is challenging to find a home in your price range. Especially if you are looking at the list price of what you can afford.

Traditionally a listing agent will price your home based on what other homes like yours have recently sold for in your area. This makes sense to everyone involved. Same type of home, same area, same sort of finishings, same time, the price should be very similar. That is still happening in some cases but more and more, agents are purposefully listing their client’s properties well under the anticipated sale price. Because there are so many buyers and less homes for sale, the lower price gets more traffic in the door and more interest and more calls to the listing agent. This means potentially more business for the agent in the future. It also can create a bidding war for the house with multiple people interested in it and many people offering a bid. More bids typically equates to a higher sale price. Then, once the house is sold, the agent can run around telling everybody what an great job they did by selling the house for well over the asking price!!! And then they wonder why it is that many people don’t like and don’t trust a real estate agent.

 

As an agent, your job is to help your client sell their home for the most money in the least amount of time possible and to make the process as stress free as you can. The market will ultimately decide what price is acceptable for the property. If someone is willing to pay x amount over the asking price, then that is what the house is worth. But marketing it knowing that the home is worth much more than the asking price is certainly questionable. It does generate interest but I’m not convinced the agent is working in the best interest of their seller. It seems like they are more working for themselves and their self-promotion goals.

The market is starting to balance out with more homes being listed for Spring. This practice will start to become less and less prevalent. The best advice I can give to you if you are looking to buy a home is to find an agent that will explain to you what is going on and help direct you to the homes that you can afford and steer you clear of the ones priced too low. If you are selling your home, just know that this lower price scheme will not work much longer as more and more buyers get wise to the practice.

BuyersGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Best and final offer?

There is a notion that real estate agents might be the lowest form of human being on earth. Right up there with used car salesmen. Recently, I have uncovered some evidence to strongly support that notion!
 
Obviously this is not true for the majority of us out there trying our best to help people. But unfortunately, there are many agents practicing with no scruples or moral compass and they do things that make your skin crawl. These agents are not looking out for you and really only care about the commission cheque. They also don’t usually last very long in this industry as eventually, their reputation will proceed them.
 
It is bad enough that we are in such a strong seller’s market that we have to set dates for offer presentations and throw away many of the protective condition statements just for a chance to win a bid but we now have a new(ish) dilemma to deal with. This practice may look different if you are on the seller side of the equation but if you step back and look at it holistically, it feels very wrong.
 
Here is what is going on. The listing agent will collect all of the offers on a specific date and time. They will then pick the top 3 or 4 offers and go back to the other agents and tell them that they are one of the top contenders but are still competing with a few others. They then ask them if they would like to revise their offer to make it better and maybe push them over the top to win the bid. The listing agent reveals nothing to the buying agent about where they are in the order of contenders and, of course, nothing about the other bids.
 
When you line up the process to accept all bids at a certain time, that should be your best and final offer unless the seller signs back your offer with a change that you can then contemplate working with. With this new practice, you might end up bidding even more than you did before in fear that you will lose the competition. It adds extra pressure onto an already intense situation. You may have a bid that is way out in front of the others and end up adding even more on top of it when you didn’t need to.
 
You always have the option of leaving your bid as is and not changing it or even retracting it. You could change it and still not be selected. Or you could end up spending much more than you ever intended to and find yourself in a predicament with your lender if they don’t agree with the appraisal.
 
To me, this is a slimy thing to do as an agent. A poor way to conduct business by changing the rules midway through the process and adding unnecessary pressure for a few extra dollars. Short term thinking. And it is risky too! The buyers could all walk away leaving the seller with less options.
 
This heavy sellers market will not last forever. Signs are already showing up that change is coming. Working in a balanced market is much better for everyone and when we get there, this practice will fade away. So too will those agents that have been using this tactic. Integrity is what you need to win the long game in this business.
BuyersGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Multiple representation

This is something that has caused some debate in the past and something that you should be aware of when involved in a real estate transaction. When you hire an agent, that person has an obligation to act in your best interests and protect your information. There is a buyer representation agreement that is signed by the buyer and the brokerage formalizing this relationship. The seller will sign a listing agreement which sets up a similar relationship for the seller and brokerage.
 
A multiple representation scenario indicates that the brokerage may be representing more than one party in a transaction. You may have heard of an agent “double-ending” a deal. This means that the agent is selling the house but has also brought a buyer to the table to buy the property. That agent is representing both sides of the transaction. A tricky scenario as the agent must not reveal to either party anything about the other sides motivations, purchasing power or any other bit of information that may influence the purchase and sale. It is obviously in the agent’s best interest to have that deal come together as the agent would then be entitled to the full commission.
 
There is concern that an agent might take advantage of scenarios like this one and orchestrate the showings such that only buyers that the agent represents come to see the property and make offers. That is, of course, illegal and unethical and the agent would be in a lot of trouble if that were ever proven to be true.
 
Multiple representation can also occur when the brokerage represents more than one party in a transaction. In this case, it is the brokerage, not the individual agent, that has the multiple interest in the transaction. For example, both agents (selling and buying) may work for the same brokerage. They work together at the same office so it is conceivable that they could collude with each other, and share secrets about the parties involved.
 
When you participate in a sale or purchase, your agent should walk you through these scenarios so that you understand what could happen. Again, it is in the best interest of the agent and brokerage to properly represent their clients or face consequences. Ideally it is best if you hire an agent that is not the one selling the house you would like to buy.
BuyersFinancesGeneral 13 April 2022

Making your dream home a reality

Buying a home is a big decision – whether it’s your first home or your forever home. There’s a lot more to the home-buying process than searching online for the perfect listing that checks all the boxes. The key is being able to shop with both your heart and your head, and knowing how to differentiate between the two. This is why it pays to have an experienced real estate agent in your corner.
 
Getting Ready to Buy Before you get caught up in the excitement of searching for the perfect home, consider the following questions:
1. How much can you afford? Crunch the numbers and define your budget. By getting pre-approved for a mortgage in advance, you can go into your home search with a clear understanding of your true affordability, and a competitive edge when it comes to negotiating on an offer.
 
2. Are you set on a specific neighbourhood? Before you narrow your search down to individual homes, consider what geographical area is best suited for your lifestyle. Keep the convenience factor in mind: how close is it in proximity to the amenities you use regularly?
 
3. What are your must-haves? Put pen to paper (or pull out your phone) and create a list with three sections: must-haves, preferences, and deal breakers. This will help you gain clarity and you’ll refer back to it often when comparing homes.
 
4. Who’s on your team? Having a team of trusted professionals in your corner to offer expert advice and guidance will help ensure you make the best decision for your finances and your future. This is why you want to choose a real estate expert who has your best interests top of mind. Your agent should be able to refer you to other reputable professionals as needed, such as a mortgage specialist, home inspector, and lawyer.
 
Why Work With Us?
When it comes to buying your perfect home, there are many steps and decisions to navigate along the way. By partnering with us, you can rest assured knowing we will:
 
  • Take the time to educate you on your options.
  • Tailor your search to the homes that best fit your wish list.
  • Stay ahead of market trends and offer professional advice and guidance.
  • Connect you with the right professionals and resources.
  • Help you make the decision that is best suited to your unique goals.
  • Negotiate on your behalf and put you in an ideal position when making an offer.
GeneralSellers 13 April 2022

A Seamless Selling Experience

Your home is your most valuable asset. When it comes time to sell, you want to be sure you are working with a real estate professional who has the expertise needed to get you top dollar for your home efficiently and effectively. We will work with you to position your home on the market in a way that ensures your sales experience is as stress-free and profitable as possible.
 
Getting Ready to Sell Before putting the sign on your lawn and advertising your home, there are a few key steps you can take to make your home more sellable for which we can coach you through.
 
 
1. Remove the clutter Imagine what your home would look like if you removed half of your belongings. In order to make your home more appealing to buyers, it’s important to eliminate personalized items, as well as excess furniture and decorative features. Less is more. A minimal design with few distractions will help buyers see themselves in the space.
2. Patch and paint Pride of ownership is a key selling feature, and you can demonstrate yours with simple fixes to leaky faucets, running toilets or squeaky doors. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls, using neutral colours, is also a good idea. It’s a relatively quick and cost-effective way to make your home feel bigger, brighter and more welcoming.
3. Spruce up the curb appeal The outside of your home is what potential buyers see first when they pull up to a viewing, and we know how important first impressions are. Make sure the grass is cut, the yard is landscaped and the exterior looks well-kept.
 
 
4. Stage your home Studies show staging your home helps you sell faster and at a higher price point. Small changes can go a long way in making your home look Pinterest-worthy from every angle.
 
 
 
Why Work With Grant?
When it comes to buying your perfect home, there are many steps and decisions to navigate along the way. By partnering with us, you can rest assured knowing we will:
  • Accurately assess the fair market value of your property so it sells fast and for maximum profit.
  • Use the latest marketing tools to make your home stand out from the crowd and find serious buyers who are ready to act.
  • Stay ahead of market trends and offer professional advice and guidance.
  • Connect you with the right professionals and resources.
  • Be transparent and accountable in supporting you throughout the entire decision-making process.
  • Negotiate on your behalf and put you in an ideal position when reviewing and accepting offers.
GeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Sell now or wait until spring?

If you are planning on selling you might very well be wondering if you should get a jump on the competition and sell now or wait until spring when the market is traditionally busier. Here are my thoughts on this conundrum.
Spring time generally does have more buyers but it also generally has more sellers. Many sellers will wait until the spring to sell because they want to hunker down in the winter and not go through the motions for preparing their home for sale when it is cold. Others might be staying in warmer climates and not available to sell from afar. The truth is that there are many reasons why sellers wait. But is that the best thing to do?
The short answer is that the market is unpredictable. Some homes sell quicker than others and some require the right buyer to be looking at the right time. Other homes will sell no matter when they are listed. What we know right now is that homes available for sale are at an all time low. This likely means that selling your home now will result in top dollar. In a few months, things may have changed drastically and there may be a lot more homes for sale. More homes for sale drives your sale price down as the buyers have more choice and are less likely to spend more on your home when another of equal value is available to them.
 
Closing dates can be set for a few months out giving you lots of time to ride out the winter in your home before you have to move out.
If you would like to discuss your options further and see what your home is worth now, give me a call or book an appointment.
FinancesGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Home evaluations in a hot market

The past year has seen unprecedented price increases fueled by short supply and low interest rates and many buyers. There is a belief that the housing market will continue to appreciate at these rates turning the housing market into an investment platform to build wealth rather than simply finding a place to live.
Many of the buyers in the market own more than one home and are looking for homes to rent out. Sudbury is a good market for investors as there are lots of students looking for housing and the pricing, although much higher than they have been. are still a deal compared to homes in the south.
All of this makes pricing your home a real challenge. The usual method for pricing a home is to gather all of the similar homes in the neighborhood that have sold recently. The subject home is then compared to the sold homes to come up with a sale price. There is quite a lot of work that could go into this process to get the price to properly reflect the condition of the home, the size, the qualities and level of features. Trying to price your home yourself can result in leaving money on the table or deterring buyers by setting the price too high.
This method of pricing homes is generally what an agent will do when selling a home. The price is what the home should sell for at that moment in time. It would equal or be very similar to what other homes have sold for.
In a hot market in favor of the seller, the final selling price might end up much higher than the evaluation price. This is an unpredictable outcome and one that you cannot rely on. The market can change any day or there may be other factors that result in a sale price lower than your expectations. Generally speaking and from recent experience, the sale prices have mostly been at or above asking when the market is so heavily tilted.
Setting the right price for the current market conditions is what agents are trained to do. We see new homes listed and sold everyday and know what your homes are worth in your neighborhood. Ultimately the market will dictate what the final sale price will be. The right marketing plan and home sale preparations will help to ensure that your home sells for top dollar.
Want to know what your home is currently worth? Book an appointment with me for a no cost and no obligation home evaluation. Link to book is on the main page at grantgraham.com.
BuyersGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Not the best time in real estate

By far, the past couple of years has been some of the worst times in real estate. The pandemic forced people to stay in their homes, and stay they did! The number of listings is the lowest it has been in many years. With interest rates incredibly low and many people wanting to get into the market, the demand on homes has gone sky high. A perfect storm generating a very strong seller’s market.

New buyers are quickly having their dream of home ownership pushed away from them as home prices rise. Without an adequate supply of homes to choose from, the ones that do show up are selling well above the listing price and are often subject to bidding wars. In just one year, the price of homes jumped over 20%. i.e. a $300k house at the beginning of 2021 would now fetch about $360k (or more).

It is disheartening to also learn that more than 30% of the active buyers are those looking to invest in rental homes. They usually have more than 2 homes in their possession and buy the homes strictly as rental properties. These buyers typically have a lot more buying power than a first time home buyer and are more able to bid on a house with no conditions – a very risky proposition for most people buying. There are some rumours that there will be some restrictions imposed upon these buyer by the Government shortly to help curb this activity and give others more of a chance. More to come on that.

Sellers find themselves in a catch 22 situation. Many sellers are looking to move up or down and not get out of the home market altogether. So, in order to sell, they need to have someplace to go to. So they find themselves in the buyer column, also struggling with competing offers where a condition on sale of their property will almost never be accepted when others are willing to buy with no conditions. So they must wait it out until their financial situation changes or they are willing to risk the sale without the condition on sale of their current home.

As an agent, we are ready and willing to help out both sides but there simply are not many opportunities available. We also must wait for the market to become more balanced before we can really be effective.

The good news is that things are always changing. This market will adjust and more opportunities will become available again. Policy changes, economic changes and the subsiding of the pandemic are all things that can and will change the market. Let’s just hope that those things that make positive change come soon! For everyone’s sake.

GeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Who has “the file” on your house?

A colleague of mine shared a story the other day that I thought was too good not to write about. It is about a trick that a realtor used to secure the future sale of a home. Even more surprising is that the trick used resulted in my colleague’s own family member using a different real estate agent to sell her house.
 
It is definitely not a given that a seller will want to use a family member in real estate to sell their home. There are lots of reasons for this. Sometimes they feel like they don’t want their family member to know too much of their financial secrets or maybe don’t want them to know that they have property to sell. That can sometimes cause fights in families and the seller may want to avoid any problems. More often than not, the reason for them not choosing them as an agent comes down to the seller not understanding how the agent is paid. They assume agents receive a salary or other regular compensation and don’t want to be a bother to them. Granted, it is also the fault of the family realtor for not speaking to everyone about their job and asking them to support them for future home sales.
 
In this case, when the seller had purchased the home, the agent said to her before leaving that if she ever wanted to sell the home, she should come to see him because he had “the file” on the house and it would make things much easier. That little phrase worked. She honestly thought that there was a file that only he had access to for the home. This, of course, was false as every realtor has access to all of the information on the home through the MLS system.
 
When selling your home, please don’t feel that you have to work with somebody that has sold your home in the past or that tells you a made up story so that they secure your business. You are free to work with whomever you choose. Hopefully that means you will select somebody that you get along with, someone that is honest with you, that you know has your best interests at heart, and that you actually like to work with! And if you have a family member in the business, then you might want to check in with them first.