As we enter year three of the oil price plunge I am seeing a weariness in many of the stakeholders of the housing market.
It has been no fun for sellers, bankers, Realtors, or home inspectors.
Sales volume of MLS properties is trending at about 40 per cent of what it was in 2014.
That’s significant in anybody’s book.
In terms of one’s personal finances, it compares to the impact of a two-year drought or multi-year consequences of BSE to agriculture.
It remains a difficult time for any family that depends on the petroleum production, construction, hospitality, or retail industries for income.
Therefore, a major portion of our midwest population.
So, what do you do if you absolutely need to sell your home?
First and foremost, don’t speculate on value.
Get a professional up to date opinion, whether it be from an appraiser or Realtor, or both.
Yes, you may not like what you hear, but living in a dream world doesn’t solve anything either.
This is no time for adventurous pricing.
Be realistic, price it tight to fair market value, and negotiate from a position of strength.
Secondly, find out from your banker what the payout amount is for your mortgage at this time.
Be prepared for a penalty for pre-payment unless you plan on porting the loan over to your next home.
Third, listen to the advice from your Realtor about what should be done to prepare the property before going to market.
Too many people watch the television shows that promote renovations which lift the value of a residence in under thirty minutes.
Real life remediation can be much different; even cruel sometimes.
I’ve seen owners amazed to learn that the creation of a man cave in the basement or installation of a hot tub complete with stereo, lights, and bar fridge will likely not return even a portion of the total investment.
Rule number four: If it isn’t clean, get it clean.
Not just everyday clean, but move-in ready clean.
If you can’t or won’t do this yourself, then hire it done; it’s that important to the future outcome.
Everyone knows cluttered space makes a room look smaller.
In my experience, almost all homes have too much stuff inside them.
I remember listing one house where you couldn’t move in a straight line on either level or in the garage.
Buyers would stop at the main entry and decide the house was too small without going any further.
Look at this challenge from a positive perspective; it’s an opportunity to unload belongings no longer needed and make some cash.
Go through every room and divide into three piles—keep, sell, or give/throw away.
Recently one of my clients was moving from an acreage to a city home and generated more than $5,000 with a one-day garage sale, plus another $10,000 for used yard equipment.
They recycled the money into new furniture that fit their new home.
Five, and just as important as rule four, is to eliminate all distractions on the property.
If you follow around as many buyers as we do, you would know the importance of keeping them focused on the core elements of a property and not be put off by something they see, like sex toys on the bedroom side table, a deer hanging in the garage, or a dog that won’t quit barking on the back deck.
There is a commercial running on TV right now that demonstrates comically what this means.
The young lady is having lunch with a friend and starts flirting with the handsome young waiter serving them, but, unfortunately, has spinach in her teeth.
She doesn’t understand why he hurries away.
Just like dating, a buyer’s first impression about your property really does count.
Five simple rules that, if followed diligently, will put you ahead of 80 per cent of the competition, which is about as good a starting point you can expect.
Vern McClelland is an associate broker with RE/MAX of Lloydminster. He can be reached at (780) 808-2700, through www.vernmcclelland.com or by following the Midwest Group Lloydminster on Facebook.