Under normal circumstances, putting your property on the market in the fall can be an overwhelming process, even for an experienced homeowner. This year may feel especially daunting given the unknowns surrounding the pandemic and market stability.
A slow spring gave way to a promising summer real estate market. In July the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) reported national home sales bounced back from their pandemic-induced springtime lows, rising 26% month-over-month. If this recovery momentum continues, the typically busier fall season could see a wave of homeowners listing their properties with plenty of buyers waiting to snap them up.
If you count yourself among the owners looking to list before the end of the year, we’re here to provide you with a few key steps you can take to prepare ahead of time.
Keep your finger on the pulse
With markets shifting as a result of the coronavirus, it’s important to continue monitoring what’s going on and to respond accordingly. According to Dinani, make sure your listing agent has a pulse on not only the area they serve, but the overall base market and other emerging trends. For instance, if you’re selling a single-family home, your REALTOR® should be able to pinpoint if there’s a rise in buyers selling condominiums and moving to your neighbourhood, and how your listing should target that audience.
“We’re seeing new trends now and that movement towards detached [homes] with a yard. [You should] know where the buyers are coming from in the area,” says Dinani.
At the moment, Dinani says constrained supply may point to a seller’s market in fall 2020, but there’s still too many variables at play to know for sure in advance. In the latest market data released by CREA, the number of newly listed properties jumped 7.6% from June to July.
In June, the national average home price reached $539,000, a 6.5% year-over-year increase, according to CREA. Prices are expected to continue to remain stable and buyers who have been locked down in their homes are likely to be motivated to move to a space that’s more suitable for their needs in the fall.
Whatever the case may be down the line, REALTORS® should be up to date with the market.
“Our job, in our position as REALTORS®, is to be on top of everything that is happening, and what’s happening with the data, what’s happening with the stats, sales and prices, and keep our clients apprised as to when is the best time to sell their home,” says Dinani.
Have a plan in place
Don’t fly by the seat of your pants—it’s good to plan ahead for the safety and well-being of everyone. Dinani explains your REALTOR® should set protocol for how each showing and open house will play out according to local public health guidelines. For instance, his team prepares each property for showing by arriving early, providing a thorough cleaning, and opening all interior doors to prevent visitors from touching high-contact surfaces. It’s also recommended to provide visitors with masks and a disinfecting station for use before and after their showing.
“When we’re outside before the buyer comes in, we prepare them on what we expect and how the showing is expected to go and what the angle of the limitations will be,” he explains.
Dinani says you should have a conversation with your REALTOR® about what measures they’re taking to protect your health as well as the health of the potential buyers who will be coming through your home.
Presentation is everything
Fall is usually a time where more serious buyers come out of the woodwork. Having skipped the spring and summer markets, fall buyers traditionally are looking to make an offer and close on a property before the holidays hit. Nowadays, home buyers are even less casual when it comes to shopping around.
“Everyone coming through is not just casually looking. There’s the odd one, but the majority of people are actually very serious about entering the market or buying something in the market,” explains Dinani. “I feel like into the fall, that will continue.”
Given the seriousness of buyer motivations, and the social distancing recommendations that have resulted in less frequent in-person showings, it’s important to make first impressions count in the home. This means a clean, well-kept environment showcasing the best features of the property.
“When they come into the home and it’s not presented well, then you may lose them,” says Dinani. “So, we make sure our homes show a ten every single time. That presentation component is very important.”
Leverage technology for your home
With more buyers spending their time on their phones and computers, Dinani says it’s crucial to take a more aggressive online marketing approach. When preparing your home for listing, he says to ask your REALTOR® about how they plan to leverage technology to give your home exposure.
“We’ve seen a meaningful change from where activity has gone during the pandemic and how people are spending more time [online],” says Dinani.
For buyers and sellers that are less comfortable with in-person showings, high-quality Matterport and virtual tours can be a powerful substitute. Instead of sending physical copies of flyers and feature sheets, convert these materials online so they are readily available. A strong presence on social media and relevant real estate websites is also vital.
“Every one of our listings has a virtual tour attached to it,” explains Dinani. “I think that’s the first touch point that people have to your listing. It’s got to be something that impresses.”