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07/03 - Selling

Avoid These Mistakes When Selling Your Home

Selling Your Home |

How Not to Get in Your Own Way When Selling Your Home

If there’s one thing we can say from experience, it takes hard work to sell your home. But hard work can pay big dividends. And, when you have the right partner in your corner, getting the results you want should be a team effort! When selling your home with a real estate agent, it’s expected that a smart, educated, experienced and competent professional is there to help you navigate through the selling process every step of the way.

Fox Marin has sold many real estate properties. And, no matter the size, shape or value of the property, we’re always working towards providing a best-in-class experience so we can see our clients win (big)! Despite our efforts to be honest, organized, communicative, efficient, analytical…and to provide top-notch staging and marketing, sometimes it’s not us…it’s you!


5 Highly Effective Tips to Avoid Getting in Your Own Way While Selling Your Home

It’s true, we see bigger and better successes when sellers trust their real estate agent to do their job. There are five simple things you can do to avoid getting in your own way when selling your home. If you’re already in the market as a seller, are you able to check off this list of do’s and don’ts? 


1. Decluttering has a Deadline

When we prepare a property for sale, we always create a custom workback schedule. This way, the selling client knows exactly when things are happening. Depending on the condition of your home, it may take one to four weeks to get the house in good order before it is photo ready. Our timelines indicate when trades will be painting, landscapers will remove yard debris or when your carpets will be steamed and cleaned. In our detailed timelines, we always indicate what date the movers will arrive with staging and styling inventory. This often includes storing many of the seller’s personal furniture, boxes and artwork.

Despite our efforts to provide decluttering task lists, send follow-up reminders, deliver packing boxes and sometimes, additional visits – it amazes us that some sellers just don’t follow through! Like, not at all. We arrive on site to stage the property and there is not one box packed. In fact, the house looks like there was a raging keg party the night before. And trust us, we have seen it all. From dirty underwear, cat do-do in the house, crusty dishes, exploding closets of clothes, soiled sheets, overflowing diaper genies, all the way to bathrooms rotting with mould. It’s enraging when this happens (and, more often than you would imagine) because it slows down the process drastically. I mean, we don’t mind rolling up our sleeves to get the work done. But we’re not going to sort through your personal papers, DVD collection and bottles of lotions and potions in your shower…

The long of the short?  Declutter and pack up by the deadline.


2. Staging Versus Designing

When it comes to purchasing real estate, people will often buy on emotion and afterwards, justify with logic. And, we are confident we have mastered the art of creating that emotional connection with prospective purchasers for our seller clients’ properties. We do this through creative and hyper-strategic staging. We stage to sell, meaning we brand and market your property to sell for top dollar. And, trust us when we say, that most sellers are really excited about this part of the process. This is the big transformation, the big reveal, the big HGTV moment. In fact, 9 out of 10 times, the seller is beyond ecstatic. Our mutual efforts were worth it and the home looks top notch and ready for its digital debut.

Every so often (there is always one), a selling client comes along that forgets that we are staging the property not custom designing it. There is a huge difference between the two! We have a huge warehouse full of inventory from West Elm, CB2, Crate and Barrel and the list goes on. However, we do not custom order furniture, light fixtures and art pieces to scale like a designer would. Nor do we paint, wallpaper, add crown moulding or execute custom millwork. This is a service we provide because we know it’s imperative to selling your home for its highest and best price. We ensure your home looks its very best on and off screen. We want to appeal to a large pool of potential buyers that will relate to a fresh, neutral colour palette. So, the next time you’re disappointed that your home doesn’t look like it’s ready to be featured on the cover of Elle Decor Magazine, remember, we’re staging your property not redesigning it! 

To sum it up? This ain’t the Property Brothers, this is real life. 


3. Sticky Due Diligence Period

Pay attention, this a big one! We’re going to be repeating ourselves, but if you hire a smart, educated, experienced and competent professional, they will do a lot of due diligence on your property before going to market. This is to protect you from getting sued. It’s our job to research and learn about your property.

Prior to going to market, we execute a pre-list home inspection to provide potential buyers with current information about the condition of your home. As the seller, it’s in your best interest to tell us about any issues that are not uncovered during an inspection. For instance, basement flooding, termite treatment, etc. The point is not to uncover things that lessen your chances of a good sale price. Instead, it’s to be upfront so you won’t end up in a messy situation down the road. You might even discover things about your property you weren’t aware of at the point of purchase. For example, a knob and tube wiring, lead pipes or asbestos. If this is the case, it’s not reasonable to blame the selling agent…even if it’s easier to play the blame game. 

In addition, the agent should double check the legality of your parking. Is your widened parking pad permissible by the City? Do you have any encroachments over your property line? We can’t tell you the amount of times we’ve had to tell a seller their front pad parking isn’t registered and that “technically” we can’t market the property with parking. This doesn’t go over well. But, again, why shoot the messenger who is doing their job in protecting the seller from misrepresentation? It happens. We can take the punches! 

In short order? You might have purchased a house infested by mice; however, we can’t pretend they are not there! 


4. The Highs and Lows of Pricing

We truly wish we had a magic crystal ball that would tell us what your home will sell for on any given day. But, we don’t. Instead, we spend extensive time working with our selling clients on a pricing strategy. We look at neighbourhood comparables, market appreciation, record sales and even local pricing fails. By working through this collectively, we can almost nail down what the house is worth and what price range your home will sell for in a multiple offer scenario. We always provide a price range because it’s impossible to truly predict. It really depends on what’s happening in the market that week. Was there a bad snow storm during your open house? Did a lot of inventory come out in the same price category? Did Toronto Life Magazine publish a fear mongering real estate cover story that coincided with your home’s offer night? All of these variables play into the outcome of offers on your property.

Of course, every seller wants a record-smashing sale. Trust us, our lives would be much easier if could guarantee one. For various reasons, it’s not always the case. However, sometimes sellers forget we provide a price range for the property to include a low and top end sales figure. And, if the offers are coming in closer to the lower end of the range, please don’t scream and yell at us. For the most part, we were on point with our initial analysis and talked about this potential outcome before even signing a listing agreement…remember? We understand the stakes are high and every dollar matters. But at the same time, if we execute on our plan and deliver on our promise, why are we standing there with egg on our faces and not sleeping one wink at night?  

Your takeaway? Your first offer is usually your best offer – take it and celebrate the win! 


5. Ghosting On Us

Whoa, we can’t tell you how many countless times this has happened to us over the years.  The seller ghosts. Meaning, the seller is not reachable by any means of communication – email, text, Instagram, phone, fax or satellite radio.  And, sometimes this happens mid-negotiation?  Where do these sellers go and have they forgotten they have a multi-million dollar listing up for grabs? Offers have deadlines on them called irrevocables – meaning, an offer will expire at a certain time and date (and, in Toronto these deadlines are tight).  So, if there is activity on your property and interested buyers are buzzing, please don’t leave us stranded in the dark. If we are trying to find you…we will go to extreme measures to do it if it’s important enough. We have driven to clients’ offices, called their mothers, texted your best friend and sent weird mobile Facebook messages to you and our mutual friends using urgent emojis.   

Your hint? Keep your mobile device charged and the volume turned up! 


The Takeaway For Selling Your Home?

I think it’s often forgotten how much goes on behind the scenes to prepare a property for sale.  Real estate often gets glamourized by shows like Million Dollar Listing and Love it or List.  However, a good selling agent is spending a huge amount of time worrying about everything and anything so you don’t have to!  When it comes to selling your home with us, you can expect so much more than the average experience. We sell your home on the first impression, taking a hands-on and personal approach to real estate. Specifically, this means sophisticated marketing, renowned staging, expert negotiation and a deep fundamental understanding of the Toronto Real Estate Market. This is what gives our clients the true advantages when we partner with them to sell real estate. And? We always see bigger and better successes when our sellers trust us to do our job (not getting in their own way). Because, we always have their best interest at heart, not our own!


This article is written by Kori Marin, Managing Partner and Broker at Fox Marin Associates. With a passion for Scandinavian design and all-things-Toronto, Kori brings her own brand of charismatic energy, creative integrity, and expertise to her work.