Tips and Tricks for a Seller’s Market

If you’re thinking about selling on your own without a realtor, you’re in for a bumpy ride – but like the old saying goes, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Hopefully, at least that’s what we tell ourselves.

Here we’re going to talk about how you can overcome all the challenges of selling your own home, all without giving a realtor that 5% commission.

Tabular Rasa: An Empty Space is a Happy Space

From all those property flipping shows you might think that you need to dress up your home with tens of thousands of furnishings and fresh flowers… but you don’t.

If you want to sell your home, start by giving it a good scrub! A clean home free of clutter will attract more buyers than a home that’s been stuffed to the brim with your great-aunt Mimi’s antique vases.

Full home staging is always an option, but you’ll want to work closely with a staging professional or interior designer to make sure you’re projecting the right impression to homebuyers that will breeze through your open house.

A Picture is a Worth a Thousand Words

And a bad picture is worth thousands of dollars in potential loss. There’s nothing wrong going the DIY route to sell your home, but you need to know that you’re putting your best face forward.

This means hiring a professional photographer with the proper equipment (lighting, DSLR, meters, the whole enchilada) and a portfolio of homes they’ve helped sell. Expect to spend hundreds of dollars on a real photographer – and expect to see thousands of dollars in returns.

Hire a Listing Agent

So you don’t want to work with a realtor to sell your home – that’s fine. But you still want to pop up in the MLS listings when buyers are browsing online.

Just beware the fact that even if you do pay a listing agent to put you on the MLS, many realtors will refuse to show your home to their clients. The last thing they’ll want is for their clients to get funny ideas in their head about doing it on their own.

But some will, and those realtors will bring all kinds of wonderful people to check out what you have to offer. Also think about paying a buyer’s agent commission – it gives realtors an extra incentive to work with you.

How Much is it Worth?

When you’re doing it on your own, how much you price your home is all up to you.

Wonderful.

But there are a few different ways you can figure out how much your home is worth. You can hire two appraisers (yes, two!) to evaluate your property, and you can look at the homes around you to figure out what the average price is in your neighbourhood.

But the most important thing is to ask yourself if you can really do this. Can you afford to spend an extra 20 hours each week to selling your home? In the end, will the 2.5% you save be worth all that hard work, all those sleepless nights, all the guesswork on your asking price to maybe save a little money?

Probably not.

But a little research ahead of time will help you understand what you’re getting into and if this is really what’s right for you. Talk to a realtor, talk to a property specialist, look at your neighbourhood and how fast the homes are flying off the market, then go from there.

The Goodale Miller Team is the #1 team in Canada for Century 21 11 years running.  Specializing in Oakville luxury real estate including Lakefront homes, infill building lots, condominiums and more. You can visit their website here.

Will MLS Have to Open Up to Online Competitors?

The war between the Toronto Real Estate Board and the Competition Bureau in Ottawa seems to be heating up. A Federal Court of Appeal recently ruled that an earlier dismissal of allegations by a tribunal last April was in error, opening up yet another door for online competitors to have a shot at the MLS.

The Toronto Real Estate Board claims that it can’t open the MLS listings to online competitors because of privacy issues, while their competitors online say that TREB is just trying to quash competition. Either way, things could change for the better (or worse, depending on what side you’re on) very soon.

Eroding Safeguards or Protecting Privacy?

The Toronto Real Estate Board claims that it can’t release all of the information in the MLS because it contains “pertinent and revealing personal information” that could be misused and abused – even leading to identity theft.

Many experts say that the whole commission is completely unnecessary – if anything, they could release all the information they wanted directly to consumers through the Land Registry System. The records go above and beyond anything in the MLS when it comes to price history on properties, all private sales, new home sales and more. Every real estate in Ontario is in the database, and all of that information could be at consumer’s fingertips within months if they opened it to the public.

What Would Benefit Consumers More?

Knowledge is power, no matter how you look at it, and the more a buyer knows about a property before they really get their hopes up the better.

If you take a quick look at the MLS information displayed on US websites like Trulia, you’ll find out the latest sale price, how many times the home has been sold – all without having to call a realtor. The US has a higher rate of for sale by owner sales, which may be due in part to having access to so much information.

Real estate transaction information is power too, especially when you’re the only ones with access to it. While it may be in part due to privacy reasons, it’s also a great reason to keep the competition at bay. If you can only get detailed transaction information from your realtor or real estate agent, you’re going to have to work through them.

MLS Data Still Restricted

Even after the Toronto Real Estate Board made some concessions last year that opened up some of the information to the public, much of the MLS data is still restricted. Detailed information about sale prices, sale history and land information can be impossible to come by – and while this could be fixed by opening up the Land Registry System to the public, the MLS is still, for some, fair game.

So what benefits consumers more? Should they open the LRS and the MLS for the public, or could that open the door to identity fraud? Is ease of access to information more important that privacy and security?

The Goodale Miller Team is the #1 team in Canada for Century 21 11 years running.  Specializing in Oakville luxury real estate including Lakefront homes, infill building lots, condominiums and more. For a listing of luxury homes for sale in the Oakville area visit their homes for sale page here: http://www.goodalemillerteam.com/Homes.aspx

The Race for Space: Office Boom, Retail Explosion on the Horizon

Traditional office parks and strip malls may be going the way of the dodo, but the rise of retail therapy and top of the line office spaces will be the trend to watch in 2014.

With so much condo construction rounding up this year and the next, it’s no surprise that retail is following right behind. All those new homeowners are going to need places to eat, drink and shop – and with that comes new jobs and more prosperity.

“Retail Follows Rooftops”

But with more condos being built and sold than detached homes, it’s more like retail following elevators instead. All of those condo buyers have to have somewhere to eat, somewhere to shop. Even major retailers are starting to build multilevel stores in tight, urban environments that follow suit of multi-level dwellings.

Even with the explosive growth in online shopping, Canadians still prefer big box (and small box!) shops on a day to day basis. Think about it, how often do you trek to Ikea or Costco when you could get that online? There are few things in life worse than paying shipping both ways for something that you could have got on a 15 minute drive to a local shop, instead.

Two Storey Urban Stores the New Normal

Walmart, Home Depot and other big box shops are moving towards building storefronts that are multi-level. Gone are the days with stores that sprawled for miles end to end and here come the two and three storey Walmarts that follow the elevators in the race to the top.

How high will they go? No one knows.

But there are only so many square feet in our cities, it’s only logical that even retail should begin its spire skyward. With the way we work, live and play constantly changing, retail has to follow suit.

Office Workers Need Less Space, More Retail

With more workers telecommuting from home, the needs of office space are changing. Many of those old office parks just don’t cut it anymore; too far from transit lines and out in the suburbs, they just don’t attract the young, innovative minds that want to live and work in the city.

A few recent studies have shown that you only need 150 sq. ft. per worker, and with many offices using collaborative huddles and “hot desking” (multiple shifts use the same desk and just trade off when the next shift begins), the need for those vast open spaces meant to be packed with cubicles just don’t cut it anymore.

Better yet, most companies have seriously reduced the amount of in-house personnel; it’s been suggested that older office spaces be transformed into condos and multi-family dwellings for rent to put all that real estate to use.

Either way, 2014 promises to be a year of great change, especially for Canada’s urban centres. While a 5 storey Walmart may be a long way off, it’s not totally out of the realm of possibility. Strange days are ahead, indeed.

The Goodale Miller Team is the #1 team in Canada for Century 21 11 years running.  Specializing in Oakville luxury real estate including Lakefront homes, infill building lots, condominiums and more. For a listing of luxury homes for sale in the Oakville area visit their homes for sale page here: http://www.goodalemillerteam.com/Homes.aspx