Our Ottawa sellers’ market continues with limited listing inventory and upwards pressure on prices. This is tough on buyers and their representatives, as we are seeing many offer dates and multiple offers, especially in the mid-price categories. So one would think everything is easy for sellers, right?
Though it is a good time to be selling, there are still several important listing decisions to be made by sellers and here are a few of the critical ones:
Who pick for a listing agent?
This is one of the first things to decide and since Ottawa is flush with over 3,100 Realtors and 176 brokerages, there are many choices. It is important to get this decision done as quickly as possible, so you can establish a good working relationship and work on a cohesive listing and marketing plan. Scrambling to find an agent after you have found your dream home, may not be the best strategy.
Do I buy first or sell first?
Age old question for those with an existing home to sell and there are pros and cons to each position. In a buyer’s market or even a balanced market, one may be able to secure a “first refusal” agreement to purchase a property that is conditional on the sale of an existing home. In these sellers’ market conditions however, sellers are not prone to consider such an offer, unless the price and other offer details are truly exceptional.
When do I list?
Those with a house to sell will probably have the timing dictated by when they find their next dream home, as in most cases, closing dates on the existing property and the new property, will have to line up.
Those with some flexibility, will want to study sales patterns and understand when might be best for their own property. In a rising market like this, there may be some advantage in listing later but one never knows what market conditions may be even 3 or 4 months down the road. We have a seasonal peaks and valleys in unit sales, so those must also be considered.
Do I list on MLS® or is it worth considering an “exclusive” listing?
An exclusive listing may save some commission and HST expense but is it really the best vehicle to market the property? We are seeing more “exclusive” listings these days, although most tend to be of quite short duration. In some cases it is used as simply a pre-announcement of a pending MLS® listing and in other cases, agents are using it as a means to draw buyer prospects for themselves.
Should I try selling it myself?
There are always challenges in selling privately and even more so in this fast paced market. Inexperienced sellers potentially face a host of unfamiliar situations such as multiple offers, bully offers or even sales falling through that are best handled by an experienced professional. In addition, the savings gained are often far less than advertised by the FSBO sales and marketing organizations.
How do I establish my listing price?
Always a critical step and strategies may vary, depending in individual circumstances. Some may wish to underprice their listing price, in order to generate multiple offers, while others will simply put a strong market price on the property and be prepared to consider offers immediately.
Should I hold back offers?
We are seeing a lot of these “offer dates” this year and this is no surprise. Holding offers for 5 or 7 days after listing, allows a good opportunity for all buyers to consider the property, have a chance to visit (via private showing or an open house) and decide whether they wish to submit an offer. While wider exposure is generally good and should generate the best market value offer, many buyers may choose to participate in a multiple offer situation and bypass the property. Military and RCMP and other government personnel moving on the Federal government Relocation Plan may also not be able to consider waiting for an offer night, given the tight timelines they have to purchase a home. Typically, they have a week or less, so they cannot afford to wait 5 to 7 days for the offer hold back date.
Should I consider “bully” offers?
A “bully” offer is one which a buyer submits during the offer hold back stage ie well before the offer date. Typically, such an offer will be very attractive on both offer price and terms. It is intended be so strong that a seller may wish to reconsider waiting for the offer date and consider accepting the bully offer and not waiting for the offer date. Tough call to make and one best managed jointly with a Realtor. There are some important protocols to be followed in considering a bully offer and notifying all other parties who have expressed an interest in the property.
Should I put any restrictions on showing times and availability?
In this fast paced market, buyers and their agents will be very active in quickly getting in to see new listings. Sellers will want to have a strategy for this, including regulating scheduling of private showings. It can be quite upsetting if the listing is popular to have a half a dozen (or more!) agents and buyers coming through the home at different times of the day.
Should I have an Open House?
Many may feel an Open House is not necessary in this market, yet it may be a way to aggregate or consolidate what would otherwise have been 10 or 12 private showings. Also, a busy open house is a great way for those buyers to know the interest level on the property. This is another good discussion to have with your listing agent or broker.
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage