Selling In The Current Toronto Housing Market

This blog post was taken from TOreal, it is a very impressive detailing of today’s market and what Torontonian Sellers must know when they list. I subscribe 100% to this view, in fact I add more specifics when dealing with my clients. This market can be harder on sellers, which I acknowledge. I know that my duty is to guide and recommend the best tactics to my clients so that they may make the best decisions for themselves. Enjoy…

So you’re asking yourself why you’re not getting any offers on your Toronto property listing. Well the odds are it is due to one of two things: Either you are not doing what your real estate agent has advised you to do or your real estate agent has not given you proper advice.

In spite of what you may have read or heard from the media, homes in the Toronto area are indeed selling. Maybe not at the feverish pace of past years and maybe not at the rapidly appreciating prices we enjoyed during that time, but they are most certainly selling.

So… just how do you get to join this exclusive club of successful homeowners who have accomplished a sale? Well, if you recognize any of the points outlined below as being applicable to you, you might just want to make a few changes that will position you for success.

Here they are … the Top Ten Reasons:

Reason #1. Failure To Recognize That It Is A Buyer’s Market: Have a good cry if you want, wish you would have sold in 2007, throw a tantrum or go out and click your heels three times with your red ruby shoes. But don’t stay in denial. In other words do what ever it takes so that you and your agent understand the kind of market we are in. Make sure you have accurate facts and statistics and know the current market absorption rate and how it impacts your ability to sell your home. (If your agent does not know this and can not provide you with good solid information, it might be time to make a change and find someone who does.)
Make a decision that either you are going to sell and do what it takes or you are going to revert to plan B (hold onto your property for a couple more years, rent it out, etc.). Don’t sit on the fence. This is not a time to “test the market”.

Reason #2. Failure to Acknowledge That It’s Really About Price!Has your agent performed a true market analysis of your property? Do you know exactly where you are positioned in the market and are you one of the best buys out there? Here’s a hint, the CMA they prepared, or offered to prepare, isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if they can not tell you how you really stack up against your competition. Has your agent previewed all of your competing listed properties?
Does you agent know where the market is and where it is headed? This is critical. Often the single biggest reason your home is not getting the showings it should, and not getting offers, is because the market is rejecting your home at its current price.
If you have not properly priced your home, you will be left without a chair in the real estate version of musical chairs. Price your home right and it sells. Don’t and it sits. Eventually your agent will keep trying to get you to lower the price until it eventually sells. If this happens to you for months and months, when you finally get to closing, it will be a safe bet that your final sales is much lower than it would have been if priced right from the beginning.

Reason #3. You Didn’t Work Properly With The Low Ball Offer: Repeat after me. This is a Buyer’s market. All offers should be respected and considered. Don’t get hung up on your asking price — it is virtually meaningless. If your price is in the ballpark, you will get an offer. It may be a low offer and not what you want. However, if you get a low offer, be glad you have something to start with. If you get an offer, any offer, remember it is better than the one you did not have yesterday. These buyers actually want to buy your home. Don’t be upset with them. If you are going to be upset, be upset with all of the people who came through your home and did not even bother to make an offer!
All offers should be reviewed and then addressed. Pretend you are in a tennis match … bat the ball back and forth over the net. Sellers who accomplish a sale (and tennis champions) never let the ball die on their side of the net. Even if your counter offer is only a slight compromise, even if your price stays firm but you give on something else, it is important to keep it alive. And, if you don’t really need to counter, then don’t. Think long and hard before you do. In our market now, 50% of the buyers will walk away and go to another property if the Seller counters their offer. This is in stark contrast to what we see in a more balanced market, where 80% of buyers always stay in the game and expect to receive a counter to their first offer.
So, take note: if your agent acts insulted by a low offer and can not keep negotiations alive, especially because of emotions or egos, I suggest you tell them to drop down and give you 20. If your agent is not experienced, or acts like that, they can lose you a deal that you wished you had taken, when six months later your home is still lingering on the market. Remember, an offer is a good thing. All offers should be considered. FIND AN AGENT WHO IS A DEAL MAKER!

Reason #4. No One Knows Your House Is For Sale: Ever go to a show? Or a clothing store? Or eat at a new restaurant? Of course. How did you know to go there? You knew because the business advertised and let you know they wanted your business!
How come it is so different with real estate marketing? When aggressive exposure to the market place is so critical, it amazes me that most agents have no budget to market their listings and no specific marketing plan. Isn’t the main reason you hired your agent, and agreed to pay them 5% of your hard earned money, because of their ability to bring buyers to the table? Buyers can only buy what they know is for sale. That sign out front … is that marketing? The open house no one shows up for?
In reality, these techniques are very out of date. We hate to break the news to you, but most agents out there get your listing, enter the data on the MLS, put it on a couple free web sites, make a flyer on their home computer and call it a day and wait around to see what happens. Most agents consider their job is done when they get your listing on the MLS system.
These agents got you to sign on the dotted line. They have locked you up and that is money in the bank to them. If your house sells, by some stroke of luck, they will get paid. If it doesn’t well, it is the luck of the draw and it least it did not cost them anything. These people are called “listers”, not marketers, and their only job is to get you to list your property with them and then hope that someone else will sell it. Hey, don’t blame them; it has worked that way for decades. If you really want to test the water, ask your agent to bring over a specific and targeted marketing proposal for your review. Tell them you want to see how they intend on finding a buyer for your property.

Reason #5. You Are Now Competing with Distressed Sales: Everyone wants a deal when they buy something … or at least the appearance that they got a great deal. Here’s a scary statistic we bet most people don’t know … over 40% of the homes being sold today are by “motivated sellers” — real estate parlance for “must sell”.
So, now that the market is flooded with sellers ready to aggressively make deals, how are you going to compete? It is important to think about your market strategy and have an agent who can help you be properly positioned in the market.

Reason #6. You Don’t Have Adequate Pictures, Videos and Virtual Tours: In no other business, except maybe advertising or modeling, does the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” mean so much. In real estate it has been proven that prospective buyers love pictures and lots of them. Many buyers won’t think twice about homes they can not see pictures of on-line.
Since we all know this, are you sure your home has been professionally photographed and videotaped so that buyers can preview your home? Don’t just assume it. Look for your home on line and see what you discover. Go to Realtor.ca and see what your property looks like. Does it have at least 9 photos and a link to your property’s custom website? You may be surprised at how many agents take no pictures, or take just a few, and how only a handful actually presents their listings on custom property websites. And also check out the quality of the photography. Is it of the “homegrown” variety or clearly professional?

Reason #7. Your Agent May Not Have A Presence On The Internet. Because over 85% of all home searches start on the Internet, it is vitally important to hire a tech-savvy real estate agent. Homes for sale in Toronto need to be marketed online and they must be searchable so that prospective buyers may find them. International buyers must also be able to easily find them and obtain Toronto area information, as well as information that pertains to international financing and transaction processes.
Many of our buyers are now coming from the US, China, India and Eastern Europe. You need to show in the search engines for the key words that International buyers are using.
If you are trying to compare Realtors, see how yours is doing. They may tell you they have a website. So what, everyone has a website. Some have two or three or more. The problem is no one goes to their websites. Google for “Toronto real estate” and other key real estate search words for your area and see if they show up. Buyers search for properties and they search for areas. Did you know that over 25% of all Home Buyers FIRST saw the home they eventually purchased on the Internet? So it is where you need to be!

Reason #8. Your Home Isn’t Presented Well: We all know that competition is fierce right now. Buyers have many choices and can be very picky and demanding. Most do not want a fixer-upper. They want a home that is ready to move into with toothbrush in hand.
What that means to you is, if your home does not show beautifully and is not staged well, it may be passed over. Is your home really market ready? Are all necessary repairs completed? Is all the clutter gone, the home squeaky clean and furniture staged for maximum market impact? These are key items that will eliminate your home from contention if not addressed. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Would you buy your house over the others in the marketplace? Why?
Will your agent be brutally honest with you and tell you what it will take to showcase your home to its maximum advantage? Most won’t, because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. They are not even sure what to suggest making it better. And they don’t have experts at hand who will step in to help. Professional stagers can help Sellers properly present their homes to the market place.

Reason #9 Is your agent marketing to the other agents in your area? Are they creating a comprehensive package about your home that agents can download or pick up in brochure format or pass along to their potential buyers? Or, after the property tour, something that the buyer can take with them to remember your home after looking at 15 others?

Reason #10. Your Home Isn’t Available When It Needs To Be: One of the biggest challenges that occur with properties that fail to sell is when Sellers hire an agent who attempts to be all things to all people and are trying to work with buyers and sellers and transactions and listings…all at the same time. They may be out with a buyer and not available to answer agents or buyers questions when they call. They don’t field calls or return calls in a timely fashion. They can not do it all and they can not afford, or don’t want, to hire help. These general agents can manage to juggle it all only if they have just one or two deals at a time. This type of operation, however, does not make the phone ring. Successful agents understand the power of having a team of professionals to help them leverage their professional reach and handle more business. They understand a key principle… that success breeds success and business brings more business!
Many real estate agents are leaving the business altogether and many now have other jobs to try and make ends meet. That’s fine but the problem occurs when a prospective buyer, or an agent representing a buyer, tries to get information about the house. How much business gets lost simply because agents don’t answer their phone calls or don’t return phone calls? The home must be able to be shown and agents must answer the phone and return calls and emails or your home will be passed over.

Too bad this turned into an old broker’s rant …


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