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Sell your home fast  To sell or not to sell your house before buying, that is the question.   We are back to the chicken and the egg.   But this time there is an answer to the riddle.

What often happens, is that buyers start house hunting just to look (just peaking), not to buy. Well, as night follows day, they fall in love with a property, put in an offer, and it's accepted.  The buyers are now in a bit of a real estate pickle and must rush to sell their home. They have to list their home, find a buyer, get over the price negotiation hurdle, and finally seek the mythical real estate unicorn --- concurrent closing dates.  It's a journey riddled with stress.

To avoid the above scenario, the simple answer is to sell first.   However; as with most things in real estate, it's complicated and depends on the circumstances and the current housing market.   It also depends on your personal financial position.  Overall there are three reasons to buy before selling, and nine reasons to sell before buying.  

Three Reasons to Buy Before Selling

1.  You need time to renovate your new home.  You can continue to live in your old home while making changes to your newly purchased home.
2.  You found too good of a deal on your dream home.  It could be that you've had your eye on a certain piece of property for a long time. It came on the market at a fair price and you know it won't last.
3.  It's a seller's market. You are fairly comfortable that your home will sell quickly.  In this case you may want to ensure you have secured a place to live before your home gets snapped up. If you sell your home, time may not be on your side to find a new home.

Nine Reasons to Sell Before Buying

1.  It usually is a longer process to sell than to buy. The timing is not in your control. It can take months to sell a home, sometimes longer.  Suddenly you are trying to figure out how to sell your home fast.  After all, when you are selling all the prepatory work is up to you.   When you are buying, the prep work is done by the seller.  
2.  There are more uncertainties when selling because final selling price, home inspection issues, buyer's subjects, closing date and other negotiating points are unknown.
3.  You are in a much stronger negotiating position when buying, if you have already sold.  If you have to sell your house, you are an impaired buyer.  Some sellers may even turn down your "subject to sale" offer.  
4. You can hold out for a higher sales price (or not sell at all) if your back is not against the wall.  
5. There may be an opportunity to sell your home and rent it back after closing.   This will allow you more time to buy your dream home.
6. You may inadvertantly end up becoming a landlord.  Now you have a whole new bag of problems.
7. You don't want to get stuck with two houses.  It's unlikely most buyers can afford to carry two mortgages (and don't be overconfident that the lender will be willing to do this)?   The good old days of easygoing banks are long gone. If you did not make your purchse offer subject to sale, you may end up carrying two mortgages. 
8.  You will know how much you have to spend on your new home
9.  You can't enjoy your new home if you are consumed with worry about finances and worrry about the old one.

A home seller never wants to be in a position to have to sell their home fast. Instead of quiet evenings relaxing and dreaming of your new home, you are scouring the internet for tips to sell your home fast.  When you are buyer the timeline is up to you.  You can take as little or as long as you like to find a home.   

There are lingering old stories of buyers purchasing their dream home and then turning around and selling their current home before the ink dried on the purchase contract.   These stories are from a bygone era and don't count today. If buyers and realtors were clairvoyant and all uncertainties were known, then maybe buy first.

In most markets and circumstances your realtor will recommend that you sell before purchasing.  It is your realtor's job to negotiate the highest possible price when selling and the lowest possible price when purchasing.  Selling your current home before buying is in most instances the best case scenario -- it gives more power to negotiate to both you and your realtor.

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Professional real estate photographerWhen it comes to selling your house, yes, pictures are truly worth a thousand dollars and more.   Don't believe me?    Redfin, a well respected  Seattle technology driven real estate brokerage, studied this and published the results.   In their article, they focused on using DSLR (Digital, Single, Lens, Reflex) cameras versus point and shoot.   Redfin's conclusion was that for homes priced between $200,000 and $1,000,000, better photos resulted in a selling price increase differential of $3,400 to $11,200.   

Google studied home buying trends throughout 2011 and 2012 and found that more than 90%of home buyers search online.   Before internet, the curb appeal of your home was the single biggest selling feature.  Today, curb appeal, while still important, takes a backseat to online photos.    The first impression a buyer gets of your home is predominantly through online search.

In this era of easy photography, realtors can take out their point and shoot camera, a smartphone, or a tablet and have your home photos done in 5-10 minutes.   Snap, Snap, that's that!   These quick snap shots are a great tool to the realtor when they return to the office to do the written description of the property.  But should they post these point and shoot photos to MLS?   I say emphatically "No".    

Consider, a buyer doing their real estate purchase research on the internet.  Usually they query by area, price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and type of property.   In Canada, an online www.realtor.ca (MLS) query will return to that buyer anywhere from 0-500 homes to view. That's pretty stiff competition.  The single most important factor to whether an online looky loo clicks for more information on your property is how the listing cover photo compares to the others in the search results.  

MLS allows listing realtors a maximum of 20 pictures for each listing.  Your agent should work together with a professional photographer to maximize the opportunity that provides.  Often that includes using all 20 listing photo spots, sometimes not.    For smaller properties, fewer photos often have more impact, as the wow factor can be lost with too many shots of the same room or feature.  

The key to great photography is the house looks better in photos than in person.  In my experience, that is a good thing as the more buyers viewing your property increases the potential to sell it, and ultimately the price.  For example, in one case the professional kitchen photos in an online listing caught the eye of a buyer searching online.   When later physically viewing the property, it wasn't the kitchen but the backyard (particularly the apple and pear tree) that really piqued her interest. The backyard was very well featured in the photos, but it was the sounds, smells and "vibe" of the backyard and neighbourhood that she was drawn to.  That buyer would never even have seen the backyard if not for the professional photography that drew her there.

The benefit to the professional photos in this case didn't stop there.   What was key in keeping this buyer's attention was the professional photos were also included in a handout listing sheet that created an "offline" lasting impression.  As she viewed other properties, the handout photos were a permanent reminder of the home that had earlier interested her.  She ultimately returned to view the property again, and purchased it.

Sellers do not have to pay for professional photographs.   It's part of many realtors' service.  The professional photographers I have worked with have a keen eye for charming or elegant interiors, outstanding exteriors and landscaping.   They use proper lighting and plan and execute their shots.   They make buyers want to live in the homes realtors' feature.  To get the best return on what is likely your biggest asset, ensure your realtor is using a professional  photographer.  

Mike Alleyne, Real Estate Agent

 

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Giant maple leaf in autumnIs it just me or are the falling leaves bigger and more plentiful than in previous years?   We were walking our dogs a week ago and looked back at our yard.   Whew, our family has a lot of backbreaking raking to do.

 

Our house is not for sale, so we are procrastinating on the raking.   If your house if for sale, I recommend that you do as I say and not as I do and keep on top of raking.   It's not too bad if you do a little each day, and it's great exercise.   Your house needs to be well kept because it has a big influence on buyers.

 

The leaf volume in my yard was so significant that I lost track of my best friend.  

Can you find her?

              Golden Retrievers in autumn leaves

 

How keen is your eye sight.   Did you see both dogs?

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