Spring is usually the busiest time of year for buying and selling real estate, and this year is no exception.
Low interest rates, investors, growing families and high rents are driving people into the buying market, says local realtor James Colquhoun. Thunder Bay is very much a sellers’ market at the moment.
Single detached homes have the highest demand in the market right now and if marketed correctly will demand a premium price. Colquhoun says. Detached homes in semi-rural settings are also in demand, as some buyers look for more space both inside and outside the home.
As a realtor who has helped hundreds of sellers throughout his career, Colquhoun says you want to make sure your home is in tip top shape before it goes on the market. “A fresh coat of paint goes a long way. Cover up bright, loud colours with neutral tones,” he suggests. A major renovation isn’t necessary, but if you have a door that doesn’t close properly or a leaky tap, get them fixed first.
A dated home will sell as long as it is clean and well presented. “Clean, declutter, depersonalize,” Colquhoun says. Buyers want to be able to imagine themselves in the space, so too many personal photos might be distracting.
If you have a lot of stuff, putting some away in storage is a great idea. You could hire an interior designer to help stage your home, but most realtors have that experience and can help. “I can go into a room and assess where things should go and what would be a good flow,” the realtor says.
Photos are another important factor. “You want to make sure the pictures are good, but reflective of what the room actually looks like,” Colquhoun explains. It’s always good when a buyer walks in and says, “The photos were nice but this is much better.”
In this fast-paced market, sellers should expect to be flexible. “You may have to leave at a moment’s notice for showings. Most listings get multiple showings a day,” Colquhoun says. “Keep your house organized 24/7, and you will be ready for a quick showing.
Realtors are a great help in navigating the entire process from listing to marketing to negotiating the best possible outcome for the seller. Realtors will guide you through very complicated offers with confidence and assist you in understanding what each and every clause and condition means, as it is not always the highest amount that is the right offer, sometimes conditions or convenience for the Seller is what is more important or even the story behind the buyer that will make the difference.
Although it is a sellers’ market, that doesn’t mean you can overprice your home. “One of the reasons you should use a realtor is for accurate pricing. It is a science, and takes years of experience to price a home correctly, over price it by just a bit and you could end up with a lot less than you should as buyer pass it by for something that they see as better, Colquhoun says. Realtors have access to sales data not available to the general public, and a home priced just right will allow a seller to both maximize the home’s value and sell within a reasonable timeframe.
Realtors can also bring you more exposure in the marketplace. In 2020, realtor.ca was visited over 73 million times, up 45 per cent from 2019. “A home listed with a realtor should always sell for more than a private listing,” Colquhoun says.
“It’s important to protect yourself, and protect your home,” the realtor says. “With a realtor, there’s very little chance of real estate fraud. You can rest assured that the rules will be followed, and that an experienced professional is looking out for your best interests.”
While privately listing a home might seem alluring to some, you may be opening yourself up to risk. “In private listings, if a sale falls through, nobody is held accountable. The buyer might change their mind, or financing might fall through,” he explains. “With a realtor, everyone is prescreened, and you only get qualified buyers.”
“The stakes are high when you sell a home. Your home is probably your most valuable asset. Don’t take risks with it,” Colquhoun advises.
“If you’re thinking of selling your home or have questions about Thunder Bay’s real estate market, give me a call at 807-631-7215,” he says.