Megann  Willson

Megann Willson

Real Estate Agent

HomeLife/Realty One Ltd., Brokerage

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What if you have to sell your home during this scary season?

The economy is really throwing everyone for a loop. We seem to be on the cusp of a Bank-induced recession (that’s when the Bank of Canada keeps raising its interest rate  to curb inflation, only to have the economy slow down as a result). Home prices are falling here in the GTA, and the interest rate your lender wants for your mortgage is going up. All of that is a little unnerving, especially if it is the first time you’ve seen it happen. Whether you’re a first-time buyer who hasn’t purchased yet, or someone who has a mortgage coming up for renewal, these choppy financial waters might leave you feeling like you’re in dire straits.

My advice to most buyers who don’t have to sell right now, is to wait. Let things settle out a little. It’s not the best time to be making speculative moves. However, sometimes you don’t have a choice. Maybe your company is transferring you to another city. Or perhaps you’ve inherited a property and you don’t want to (or can’t afford to) keep it as an investment property. Or you and your co-owners can’t continue owning the property together, for whatever reason. If you must sell, there’s no point railing against the facts. Simply arm yourself with as much information as you can, and choose an agent who has lived through multiple fiscal cycles (including recessions) as a homeowner. We’ve got not only our real estate expertise to rely on, but we’re proof that you can survive all of this and come out whole on the other side.

Here are some things that are facts, when selling during a time of slowing in your real estate market:

  1. It is more of a buyer’s market than a seller’s market, even when it is balanced. Buyers working with an experienced agent will know that you are probably selling because you must, not because you want to. This means your negotiating stance is a bit weaker. Not non-existent, but not as robust as it is at a peak seller’s market, when you can pick and choose between multiple offers.
  2. Things will take more time than in a hot market. Ask your agent about the DOM for comparable homes (that’s Days On Market). It tells you how long, on average, homes like that have been taking to sell. Yes, there are anomalies. But if homes are taking three or four weeks to sell, don’t get discouraged when you have no offers in the first week, or even two.
  3. Prices will be lower than at a peak market. That’s not to say you will lose money on your home, especially if you bought it more than a couple of years ago. But here in Toronto we have seen a significant contraction compared to February, even though many neighbourhoods are still selling for more, year-over-year. This is definitely a time to manage your expectations.
  4. Any offer is worth considering. The situation for you as a seller is that your options are the same as they have always been: you can accept the offer as-is, you can counter-offer (come back to the seller with changes in price, timing, or terms), or you can decline the offer/let it expire. This is a time when the old bird-in-the-hand adage really comes into play. If you have a willing seller (you) and a willing buyer at the table, your agent is as anxious as you to get a good price as you are. The best objective is to receive a price that is acceptable (if not as high as you had wished) with time and terms that are as close to what you need as possible. Better to sell for a bit less but not have to carry two houses while you are relocating, for example.
  5. As always, make your home look its very best. This is much easier said than done, when it’s only on the market for a few days. As time drags on, it can feel a bit onerous to nag your kids to tidy their rooms every day, always putting out fresh flowers, making sure the lawn and driveway are immaculate. But it’s important. And as the seasons change and you encounter different holidays, don’t forget curb appeal. It might not seem worth it to decorate for the holidays when you may end up moving in short order, but it might just be the thing that sets you apart from other listings. You want your home to look…homey.

The good news is, for the same reasons that you may have to sell even when the timing isn’t ideal, there are also buyers who must buy right now. Patience really is a virtue, and you can be confident that REALTORS® are doing our level best to bring buyers and sellers together to make it work, so that you can move on to your next happy home.

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