Deciding To Sell

Welcome to the world of home selling!

The moment you decide to sell your home, it’s no longer your home.  It’s a commodity.


This rule might sound a little sever, but in the end it’s a crucial step to success.  A commodity in this sense is just some generic product that has value to you only because it can be sold.  You need to distance yourself emotionally from your home in order to sell it successfully.  I have found that thinking about it this way really helps my sellers to make a  clean break.

When you go to sell your home, it need’s to become a house again.  While your house is on the market, you need to do your best to forget about all the wonderful times you had there, how great it feels when someone walks in and compliments all of your personal touches, and how warm and cozy it makes you feel.
The time has come to view this structure as a commodity.  Someday it won’t be yours anymore, and the more quickly and completely you make the break, the better off you will be!

The process

Let’s start with what your up against:

  1.  Deciding to sell.

2.  Preparing your property for sale.

3.  Calculate your expenses and commissions.

4.  Pricing your property.

5.  Hiring a realtor.

6.  The marketing.

7.  Real property reports and title insurance.

8.  Showing your property.

9.  Offers.

10.  Buyer’s conditions.

11.  Closing the transaction.

Getting started.

It’s easy enough.  Please take the time to go through the following reports and guides in this websites Seller’s section.  There is a lot of information that I have prepared for you to help guide you through the selling process.  Some of it might not apply directly to your personal venture, but the steps in the process are pretty much what occurs in each and every real estate transaction.

Please use this information as tools, as each transaction is not “cookie cutter”.  If you have specific concerns, always search for the advice from your Realtor or seek the advice from a lawyer.

To stay or sell

Few decisions have a bigger impact on your life – at every level – than deciding to sell your house.  In fact, moving is one of the three most stressful life events.  A major change is scary, but as our lives develop, change may be necessary, and even welcoming.  Your house shapes your lifestyle.  The amount you spend on your housing determines how much money you can save for things like vacation, retirement or your kids’ education.  The location of your home dictates how much time you spend getting to work, school, and shopping – and how much money you spend on transportation, utilities, taxes, and maintenance.  Your home also affects your social life and leisure time.

Now is the time to take stock of what you have and what you need.  Sell or stay?

Good reasons to stay

Renovation is a viable option:  If your after more space, a new look, modernization, or greater efficiency, renovating your home might be the wisest course of action.  If you live in a great neighbourhood, renovations may be a steal compared to the transaction costs of selling, and they may also add to the resale value of your house.  If you want to move because your house needs some costly repairs, investigate your options carefully.  You may end up paying for the repairs anyways when your house doesn’t sell because of them.

Your finances are shaky:  If you’re already having trouble living within your means, it may be wise to delay buying your dream home.  You may want to look at refinancing the home your currently own to try to get your balance sheet a bit more balanced.  Even if you’re thinking about moving to a less expensive house, keep in mind you’ll incur plenty of one-time expenses when you sell.

The location of your home is unsuitable:  If you have a great location with good long-term employment potential, or if you are ready to retire and look forward to the security and low maintenance of a retirement community, selling your house makes a lot of sense.

Your house is too small or too big:  If you and your family need more space moving is probably your best bet.  On the flip side, if the last of your kids has finally moved out it might be time to downsize.

Life throws you a curb ball:  After a traumatic event like a divorce or the death of a family member, you may simply want to leave bad memories behind.  Take the time to review your financial situation and personal goals so that you make a move that is right for you.

Life is fine – but the neighourhood isn’t:  The neighbourhood has changed around you in a way that you are not happy about.

Sell first and then buy, or vice versa?

Timing the move is really tricky.  On the one hand, you can find yourself with no house, having sold your home before finding a new one of the appropriate size, style or location.  On the other hand, you can find yourself with out money as you carry two houses.  You can avoid these pitfalls by basing your timing decisions on current real estate market trends and your own needs and priorities.

Riding the real estate cycle

Real estate goes through cycles. When there are a lot of buyers and not many homes available, it’s a sellers market. When there are more homes listed for sale that there are buyers shopping for homes, it’s a buyer’s market.  Market condition within a city can be completely different too.

The trick is being able to identify the type of market that your present home and neighbourhood is facing:

  1.  Check out the “for sale” signs in the neighbourhood or do a neighbourhood search of available actives.

2.  Look at recent sales.

3.  Watch the news.

4.  Speak with a knowledgeable agent.

Determining your needs

Your needs form another important variable in the buying and selling equation.  Do you need to sell your home quickly?  Do you want a certain price, and if so, are you willing to wait for it?  Do you want to be in your next home by a particular date?

If you want to get your kids moved into a new house before the beginning of the school year, you may decide to buy that perfect house in the new neighbourhood before you have sold your current house.  The way to prevent hanging on to two houses is to price your current house to sell.  But, as a rule, before you buy is almost always better financially and emotionally.

Why are you selling?

The first question to ask yourself is what am I selling my house?  The answer may be obvious, but it’s worth thinking about because it will affect how you approach the process every step of the way.  Here’s a quick overview of the major categories of sellers.
You may find that you fit into more than one category, in which case you pay more attention to the issues pertaining to each.

Or, if you find your own situation isn’t listed here take a look at similar situations to find issues that may affect you.


This is the classic scenario of the growing young family moving to a bigger house to accommodate the kids.  You need more bedrooms, more storage space, and a bigger garage.  You may be looking for a bigger house for other reasons, such as a move from the city to the suburbs, but the situations are similar on the selling end.

Up-sizing tends to be very stressful.  First of all, there’s the money.  In most cases, up-sizers are moving within the same market, so more space means a higher price.  There’s a dangerous tendency for up-sizers to overprice their current homes because they’re buying a more expensive one.

Second, up-sizing is stressful because it’s usually not absolutely necessary.  Sure, there are social pressures to buy a bigger house.  It feels like something you should do.  Buy you could survive perfectly fine with the current space that you do have.  On the other hand, up-sizers tend to be less emotionally attached to their current homes.


As the name suggests, downsizing is the opposite of up-sizing, but in more ways than less square footage.  The folks involved are usually older and the process itself tends to be less stressful, but the implications of the move can be very emotional.  And then there’s all the stuff.  Downsizers have often lived in their homes for may years, and they’ve accumulated a treasure of personal items.  What will yo do with all this stuff?  Even for downsizers who aren’t that old, they’re often moving away from homes where they watched their children grow up, and it’s just as difficult to break away emotionally.

Finally, downsizers often have financial issues to address.  If your house was paid off long ago, the sale may represent a financial gain.  Or, you may have a second or third mortgage or line of credit to pay off.  They you could be back at square one!

Death or divorce

Sellers in these situations face both high stress and powerful emotions.  It goes without saying that you should hire a lawyer and get an accountant to help yo get through either scenario.

Selling the home of a deceased family member is never simple.  Doing it with by committee with all the added emotions is almost impossible.  Its essential that you work toward the smoothest possible transaction because as soon a conflicts start to arise they tend to snowball out of control.

Selling a home as part of a divorce tends to be as simple or as complicated as the settlement itself.  The risk, of course, is that one party will sabotage the sale for the other.  If you’re in a divorce situation, just make sure to keep in mind that the house, as your largest asset, is also likely to be one of the largest sources of conflict.

Change of job

Surveys often find the top four most stressful life events to be death, marriage, moving and changing jobs.  So sellers in this group are facing two of the top four at the same time.  Your first priority here should be getting buy-in from the entire family.  You may be moving to a new city, putting your kids in a new school, and doing it all in a relatively short period of time.  If everyone isn’t on board from the beginning, you’ll be facing a constant uphill struggle.

Besides family consensus, timing is the other crucial factor for these folks.  Many times one parent will go ahead to the new city while the other stays home with the family.  You need to find a new house in a new city, while selling your current house on a tight schedule.  This is definitely one of the most difficult situations for sellers to face.

External factors

Occasionally we have clients who sell because the neighbourhood has changed around them and they can no longer stay there.  Or they move to get into a better school district.  These and other issues not specifically related to the house itself can cause problems for sellers, particularly if the problems require disclosure.

You might think that disclosing such problems would lower the value of your house, and you would be right.  But this is not something you can hide from buyers, so you’ll just have to decide if moving away from the problem is worth it for you.

Just to see

If a seller where to receive a high enough offer, they’d sell.  It might be obvious to you that this is a bad idea, but the reasons why it’s a bad idea can provide some interesting insight into the process.

First of all, sellers who just want to see what will happen are obviously not serious about selling, so they won’t do everything they should to prepare their house for market.  As a consequence, their agent is likely to be less experienced, since seasoned agents wouldn’t accept these clients in the first place.  The end result is that the sellers are unlikely to get a high enough bid to sell.

I can’t emphasize strongly enough that putting your house on the market is not a risk-free proposition.  You can’t just list it, take it off the market, and then relist it as if nothing happened.  Real estate agents have long memories, and they’ll remember that at one time you were not a serious seller.

Second, these folks often consider selling their house because the market is hot and they can cash out and make a big profit.  That’s fine if you’re a real estate investor, but most of us think of our house as a home first and as an investment second.  One risk of suddenly thinking like an investor is that you may be underestimating the emotional value of your home.  If you do end up getting a high enough offer, that probably means the entire market is overheated, so you might tuck your proceeds away and wait for the market to settle down before buying again.  This means renting for a while.

Have you thought about how it will feel to be a tenant again?  Specifically, have you forgotten how great it felt when you finally owned your own place?  That’s a valuable feeling and should not be overlooked.  There are other risks to thinking like an investor, namely that you may be taking on more personal and financial risk than you can afford to, or you simply may not appreciate just how much of an inconvenience selling your house and moving out can be.

What are your goals?

Setting realistic, appropriate goals is an important exercise for two reasons:

  1.  First of all, the only real way to gauge a successful sale is to measure the outcome against the goals you set for yourself.

2.  Second, setting your goals helps you remain focused on the truly important outcomes of the sale, and avoid being distracted along the way.  Your goals help you select the best agent, set your schedule, and negotiate the deal that works best for you.

Rank your goals

What is your number-one goal in selling your home?

  • Making the most money.
  • Selling it quickly.
  • Concurrent costs.
  • Having a smooth transaction.
  • Finding the right buyer.
  • Putting the best product on the market.

Keep these goals in mind and share them as you interview potential agents, and get a sense of how their approach to the process will resonate or conflict with your own.  That way, your agent can adjust his or her approach to make sure you meet or exceed your goals.

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